ISF capture 1 escaped inmate, hunt for other 2 continues

BEIRUT: Members of the Internal Security Forces captured one inmate who escaped from Akkar’s Halba prison Sunday, while the hunt was on for the two prisoners who remain at large.

All three prisoners fled shortly before dawn Sunday after overpowering a prison security guard.

Several security check-points were set up in Akkar in a bid to accelerate the arrest of the other two prisoners, a security source told The Daily Star.

“One of the prisoners on the run, identified as Hamza Msheik, was injured and captured by the security forces,” the source said.

Msheik is reportedly in his early 30s and from Baalbek.

“Msheik was transferred to a nearby hospital in Akkar for treatment, under the watch of security personnel,” the source added.

According to the source, the two inmates who are still on the run were identified as Adel Ghamrawi and Mohammad Khodr.

After the prison break, security was reinforced under an executive order issued by the Interior Minister Marwan Charbel. According to state-run National News Agency, Charbel tasked the ISF General Commander, Maj. Ashraf Rifi, to redouble security measures through check points and police patrols in the country.

The NNA also said that the three inmates who fled Halba prison were convicted of crimes not related to terrorism. Acting Commander of the ISF Gendarmerie, Brig. Gen. George Salameh, visited Halba prison Sunday and held security meetings there.

Lebanon’s crowded prisons have seen a spate of problems in recent months, including a wave of riots and demonstrations by prisoners demanding better conditions and amnesty.

A mass demonstration in the Roumieh prison complex turned violent in April when dozens of prisoners burnt their beds and bed sheets in protest over deteriorating conditions in the detention facility. A group of rioters inside the prison also held three ISF personnel hostage for several hours during that April unrest.

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