Lebanon News

Islamist inmates’ pre-trials to start next week: Qortbawi

Families of Islamist inmates demonstrate outside the Grand Serail to pressure Lebanese authorities to endorse a law to reduce the prison year to nine months in Beirut, Lebanon, Monday, Nov. 21, 2011. (Mohammad Azakir/The Daily Star)

BEIRUT: The pre-trials for 90 suspected Fatah al-Islam members will begin next week, Justice Minister Shakib Qortbawi said in remarks published Wednesday.

“Next week, we will start the pre-trials for 90 of the Islamist inmates held in Roumieh prison,” the minister told al-Joumhouria newspaper.

The minister said that a number of judges from Lebanon’s Justice Council will begin investigations with the prisoners.

“It is yet to be decided where the investigations will be held,” said Qortbawi.

He also said that there is no deadline for the investigations and that the duration of investigations will depend on the needs of the judiciary.

Qortbawi added that the pre-trials will be a prelude to a public hearing for the Islamists.

Around 480 individuals are suspected of involvement in the 2007 battle with the Lebanese Army in the northern Palestinian refugee camp of Nahr al-Bared.

Of those, around 200 are awaiting trial in Roumieh. Others are wanted, or have died or escaped from the prison.

A new courtroom said to be established for the trials of the Islamist inmates was officially inaugurated in October.

Families of the prisoners have repeatedly protested the prolonged detention of their loved ones, calling for speeding up the trials.





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