Lebanese correctional officers questioned over inmate abuse videos

The videos, apparently filmed on cellphones inside Roumiyeh Central Prison, show prisoners being stripped and beaten by officers


By Weedah Hamzah
dpa

BEIRUT — Two Lebanese prison guards were being questioned Monday over videos purporting to show acts of torture in a jail where jihadist inmates are held, state prosecutor Samir Hammoud said.

The videos, apparently filmed on cellphones inside Roumiyeh Central Prison, show prisoners being stripped and beaten by guards.

It has sparked angry protests in the mainly Sunni north of the country, home to some of the inmates, as well as fears that Syrian jihadist groups might retaliate against 17 Lebanese soldiers being held hostage.

The office of Interior Minister Nouhad Mashnouq said the minister had instructed security authorities to carry out "a transparent and immediate investigation."

In one of the videos, a prisoner stripped to his underwear is shown lying on a floor covered with water, his hands tied behind his back.

The detainee is asked between beatings what he is accused of, and replies: "transporting terrorists."

The same detainee is told to kiss another guard's boot while he is on the floor.

In another video, around a dozen prisoners, also stripped to their underwear with their hands tied, are shown seated on the ground with guards beating at least two of them.

Roumieh is Lebanon's largest prison and has witnessed several mutinies in the past year.

The Lebanese Center for Human Rights (LCHR) has repeatedly complained that Lebanon's jails are crowded to almost twice their capacity and are "dangerously neglected and mismanaged by the authorities."

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