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More than 60 prisoners escape Lebanese jail: security sources Open in fullscreen

The New Arab Staff

More than 60 prisoners escape Lebanese jail: security sources

Nine have since been recaptured [Getty]

Date of publication: 21 November, 2020

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The prisoners broke past tight security at the facility near the presidential palace in Baabda, near Beirut, early in the morning, according to the source.
More than 60 prisoners broke out of a Lebanese jail on Saturday, and six of them were killed after their car hit a tree while under pursuit, security sources and the state news agency said.

The prisoners broke past tight security at the facility near the presidential palace in Baabda, near Beirut, early in the morning, a judicial source said.

Nine have since been recaptured while six others died after a car they hijacked swerved into a tree in slippery road conditions, the source added.

The official National News Agency reported the breakout and crash but did not specify how many people had fled or the accident toll.

Lebanon's Internal Security Forces were not immediately available for comment. 

With the remaining detainees still at large, local authorities have called on residents to be on alert, and security forces have deployed heavily to sweep the area.

Prosecutor Ghada Aoun has ordered an immediate investigation.

Speaking to AFP, she said she did not rule out the possibility of "collusion between the detainees and security guards tasked with protecting their cell."

In April, Amnesty International said there had been riots inside Lebanese jails and families' sit-in protests calling for the release of prisoners over concerns about the spread of Covid-19 in overcrowded prisons.

It said that while the Lebanese government had taken several measures, including some releases, the authorities should prioritise releasing prisoners who had served their sentences and expedite its review of pre-trial detainees.

Lebanon has recorded over 113,000 Covid-19 cases including 884 deaths since its outbreak first began in February.

The country is currently under lockdown until the end of the month to stem an uptick in infections.

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