BEIRUT: Inmates at Lebanon’s largest prison briefly held 10 policemen hostage Saturday and urged Pope Benedict XVI, on a three-day visit to the country, to help secure them amnesty, security sources said. The riot erupted around noon in the B wing of Roumieh prison, where approximately 700 inmates are held, according to the sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity. The prisoners burned bed sheets and trash cans, causing plumes of smoke that could be seen from afar, before taking 10 members of the police hostage. The Internal Security Forces’ Panthers unit, anti-riot police and Army Special Forces were dispatched to contain the unrest and have managed to restore calm at the facility. The prisoners released the 10 policemen after authorities promised to convey their demands to the relevant authorities.
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on September 17, 2012, on page 4.