| 20.08,09. 01:04 PM |
Interior Minister Orders Sacking of Police Officers Over Prison Breakout
Interior Minister Ziad Baroud ordered Tuesday the arrest of several prison officials after a preliminary enquiry found "deficiencies that might have facilitated the escape" of eight Fatah al-Islam inmates from Roumieh jail, a ministry statement said.
Baroud also ordered the Internal Security Forces (ISF) to sack 60 of its officers from jobs at the country's 21 prisons and to move them to unrelated duties outside the prison system within 15 days.
Another 300 ISF members would be relocated to posts outside prisons within two months.
Baroud said Lebanese prisons were understaffed and underequipped, adding he received "numerous complaints on transgressions and incompetence within prisons" and had transferred the complaints to the Lebanese judiciary.
"But this is a long process, and therefore it was necessary that measures be taken while waiting for the result of the investigation," he said.
"We have taken radical and unprecedented measures as this is one of the most dangerous things that could happen," Baroud told AFP.
Troops backed by helicopters have launched a manhunt for the fugitive, who was convicted of membership of the al-Qaida inspired Fatah al-Islam group which led an uprising in the Palestinian refugee camp of Nahr al-Bared two years ago.