The Internal Security Forces in Lebanon said – in a statement – that 5 prisoners died today, Saturday, when a car they were traveling in collided with a tree, after the incident that more than 60 prisoners escaped from a prison on the outskirts of the Lebanese capital Beirut.
She added that a “traffic accident” occurred, and that a car collided with a tree. It was found that a number of escaped prisoners were on board after being robbed of its driver. She said that the accident resulted in the death of 5 and one wound that is being treated in a hospital.
The Internal Security Forces confirmed in their statement that “15 of them were arrested, while 4 surrendered.” While the statement did not indicate how 69 prisoners escaped, a security source said that the facility they escaped from is intended for the detention of those awaiting trial, and that it belongs to the Baabda prison near Beirut.
A judicial source stated that the escapees managed to break the strict security measures, “take off the iron doors of the glasses and the entrance to the Palace of Justice” in the Baabda area, and escape early in the morning on Saturday.
The Lebanese presidency announced on Twitter that the Minister of Interior in the caretaker government had informed President Michel Aoun of the incident of the prisoner escape, and that the President had ordered to intensify search and investigation operations into the incident.
The security forces impose strict measures in and around the Baabda region, including the vicinity of the presidential palace.
The Appeal Public Prosecutor in Mount Lebanon, Judge Ghada Aoun, confirmed to the French Press Agency that an “immediate investigation” had been opened into the incident, and did not rule out “the possibility of collusion between the escaped prisoners and the guards assigned to protect their cells.”
A number of families of prisoners and detainees gathered in the vicinity of the Palace of Justice in Baabda, to check on the fate of their family members.
“My son was among the fugitives, but I returned him and handed him over to the state after his return home,” said Joumana Berjawi, a mother of a 22-year-old boy who has been arrested 6 months ago for attempted murder.
“He told me that they broke the prison doors and ran. He has nothing to do with him, he did as the youth asked him and ran with them,” she added.
In April, Amnesty International said that riots took place inside Lebanese prisons, and that families of prisoners had staged sit-ins to demand the release of their relatives due to fears of the spread of COVID-19 in the overcrowded prisons.
The organization added that while the Lebanese government has taken several measures, including the release of some prisoners, the authorities should prioritize the release of prisoners who have served their sentences and expedite reviewing the cases of detainees before their trial.
Currently, the country is implementing complete lockdown measures until the end of this month, to limit the increase in the number of coronavirus infections.