Lebanon’s Interior Minister Nouhad al-Mashnouq announced during a press conference on Wednesday that the renovated block B of the Roumieh Prison will be ready for the transfer of inmates within 20 days.
“The renovated block B will be ready for the transfer of inmates in around 20 days.”
Some 500 prisoners have already been transferred to the newly-renovated ward from block D, but some changes are still to be made to the building, he told reporters.
“These are not the changes that we were aspiring for, but they are what we could afford within the means available to us,” he added.
The changes are aimed at improving humanitarian conditions at the prison, reducing overcrowding, and averting the re-occurrence of unrest at the facility due to the poor conditions, Mashnouq stressed.
He thanked Finance Minister Ali Hassan Khalil and Justice Minister Ashraf Rifi, as well as various organizations, that have helped achieve the renovations and introduce changes in the management of the prison.
Mashnouq revealed that some of the changes include changes in the personnel and adding a complaints box to prisoners .
Moreover, cells will only hold three inmates in order to ease overcrowding, the minister revealed.
He also said that Rifi has pledged to address the case of Islamist inmates, vowing to resolve it in around two months.
Roumieh, the oldest and largest of Lebanon’s overcrowded prisons, has witnessed sporadic prison breaks and escalating riots in recent years as inmates living in poor conditions demand better treatment.
The Islamist prisoners were initially held at Roumieh’s block B, but they were transferred to the new ward following increased lawlessness and worsening conditions.
In January, security forces took full control of block B after storming the overcrowded facility and seizing illegal items from Islamist prisoners.
Around 800 to 900 inmates, most of them Islamists, were transferred to the new block D.