Lebanon News

Beirut demo urges swift trials for Islamist detainees

Relatives of Islamist inmates held a protest in Downtown Beirut on Sunday, Feb. 24, 2013. (The Daily Star/Hasan Shaaban)

BEIRUT: Around a thousand people gathered in Downtown Beirut Sunday for a sit-in organized by the relatives of Islamist inmates who protested delays in the release and trials of their loved ones.

The inmates were arrested on charges of fighting or aiding combatants during the 2007 clashes between the Lebanese Army and Fatah al-Islam in the Palestinian refugee camp of Nahr al-Bared near Tripoli, north Lebanon.

Earlier this month, pretrial for 20 inmates began marking the first legal action taken by the judiciary to launch the trials of the Islamists, who have been in Roumieh Prison without charge.

Amid tight security measures by police and the Lebanese Army, protesters gathered at Martyrs’ Square carrying black flags under the slogan of "Enough injustice: 200 young men and seven years in prison without trial."

Most of the defendants are suspected of having links to Fatah al-Islam, a militant Palestinian group with alleged ties to Al-Qaeda

Families of the inmates have protested on several occasions in the last two years, demanding swift trails for their loves ones.

One of the main speakers at Sunday's rally was Salafist Sheikh Ahmad Assir, who lashed out at the government and the Military Judiciary and asked for general amnesty.

“I tell the judiciary and particularly the military one that we do not trust your investigations, your judges or your military court,” he said.





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