BEIRUT: Justice Minister Shakib Qortbawi announced Sunday that judges will start preliminary questioning of Fatah al-Islam prisoners next week.
During an interview with a local radio station, Qortbawi said the head of the Higher Judicial Council, Judge Jean Fahed, informed him that files of the cases of each accused prisoner were distributed to relevant authorities.
Qortbawi slammed the negligence in improving the security of Lebanese prisons, noting that cell doors which were removed during a mutiny in 2010 were not replaced until now, which facilitated the prisoners ability to take control of block B in Roumieh.
Dozens of Islamists were detained following battles between the Lebanese Army and Fatah al-Islam militants in the Nahr al-Bared refugee camp in 2007. Many have yet to be charged or face trial.
Qortbawi expressed optimism about holding general elections on time, emphasizing his support for adopting the Orthodox draft electoral law. He also denied any intention to run in the upcoming parliamentary or presidential elections.
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on January 28, 2013, on page 3.