TRIPOLI, Lebanon: The Restart Center for rehabilitating victims of violence and torture Wednesday inaugurated a dental clinic and sewing workshop in Qibbeh prison in Tripoli under the patronage of Interior Minister Marwan Charbel.
At the inauguration, the director of Restart, Suzanne Jabbour, delivered a speech addressing the rights of inmates and called for providing for prisoners’ needs.
Jabbour said that the center had started its work inside Qibbeh prison eight years ago in partnership with the Directorate General of the Internal Security Forces as part of a program funded by a Swiss organization.
According to Jabbour, the dental clinic and sewing workshop aims at rehabilitating inmates. The workshop will produce uniforms for the ISF, and the directorate general of the ISF will sell them to its members with the inmates benefiting from profits.
She called for “building prisons appropriate for human beings, and implementing a system of transparency inside prisons so they can become centers for rehabilitation and reform – to give a second chance to those who have made mistakes in their lives.”
For his part, Charbel’s representative, Brig. Charbel Matar, thanked the center for its work in improving the situation inside Qibbeh prison. He also stressed the importance of cooperating with NGOs in this regard.
“This step which we are witnessing today in Tripoli’s Qibbeh prison is very important in helping prisoners. Its aims are to rehabilitate the inmates and allow them to learn a new trade that could support them when they leave the prison. We hope to implement these projects in all Lebanese prisons,” Matar said.
The supervisor of the sewing workshop, Bassam Mubarak, said prisoners would be able to train and work in the workshop, which houses 24 sewing machines. Mubarak also reiterated that the inmates can benefit from learning a trade while they are serving their sentences.
He added the Restart program is working on many other projects to help inmates.
The ceremony was also attended by Brig. Jean Habr – who was representing the commander of the Internal Security Forces Maj. Gen. Ashraf Rifi – the head of Tripoli prison Maj. Fadi Bitar, members of Restart Center and representatives of civil society organizations.