BEIRUT: Lebanon’s government approved a draft law Thursday allowing prisoners to request a reduction in their sentence, part of the country’s prison reform plan as Information Minister Walid Daouq is expected to launch his report on prison conditions during a news conference Friday.
The amendment to law 463, drafted by the Justice and Administration Parliamentary committee, applies to all prisoners except those who have committed crimes against state security or those who have been convicted of stealing public money, forgery or drug trafficking.
The amendments are part of Lebanon’s prison reform plan, which was launched after a riot broke out in April at the country’s biggest prison, Roumieh, over deteriorating prison conditions. Inmates demanded general amnesty and also demanded a reduction in prison sentences.
Parliament has approved the establishment of prisons in the south and the north to reduce overcrowding in prisons elsewhere. Roumieh was originally built to house 1,500 people, and currently holds over 3,000.
Parliamentarians did not, however, pass a draft law which would have reduced each prisoners’ sentences nine months.
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on September 23, 2011, on page 3.