BEIRUT: Eight Fatah al-Islam prisoners were charged Friday with the recent killing of a fellow inmate at Lebanon’s Roumieh prison, judicial sources said.
Meanwhile, police and representatives for the Islamist inmates managed to allow for the interrogation of the suspects at the B wing of the detention center.
Military Prosecutor Saqr Saqr handed down the indictment earlier in the day.
The men were charged with the premeditated murder of Ghassan Qindaqli, judicial sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told The Daily Star.
Qindaqli, who was serving a life sentence for multiple murder and drug-related offenses, was found hanging in his cell at Roumieh prison’s Bloc B on Jan. 18.
Some of the country’s most dangerous inmates are held in Bloc B, where authorities have lost much control.
The sources said the culprits hanged Qindaqli to get away with murder, making it look like the man took his own life.
Saqr, the sources added, also charged three members of the police unit guarding the prison with “negligence of duty.”
Security sources said negotiations between the chief of Lebanon’s Gendarmerie, Brig. Gen. Joseph Dweihi, and three Islamist sheikhs representing the inmates picked up earlier Friday after a thorough investigation into Qindaqli's death revealed the culprits.
The meeting between the sheikhs and police took place at the office of Lt. Col. Amer Zailaa, the head of the police unit at Roumieh prison, northeast of Beirut.
Following the negotiations, one of the Islamist sheikhs said the detainees agreed to hand over the suspects in the case.
“The detainees informed me of their approval to hand over the suspects,” Sheikh Nabil Rahim told reporters after the negotiations at Roumieh prison.
He added that interrogation with the suspects would begin Saturday.
However, security sources told The Daily Star that the agreement between the Islamist sheikhs and police would allow the interrogation of the suspects to take place but on condition that it be conducted at bloc B of the prison facility.
The detainees, who have been held without charge since 2007, also agreed to allow prison guards to inspect the cells of the suspects, the sources added.
An investigation concluded Thursday revealed that Qindaqli died following torture by means of sharp instruments, judicial sources told The Daily Star.
Sources inside the prison said Friday that the facility has received some 100 complaints about illegal behavior at the B wing.
They sources said the judge presiding over Qindaqli’s case collected 25 testimonies from prisoners who police will later transfer to another prison facility out of fear for their lives.