More than 60 prisoners escape Lebanese jail, say security sources

More than 60 prisoners broke out of a Lebanese jail on Saturday and five of them were killed when their car hit a tree while under pursuit, security sources and the state news agency said.

They fled from Baabda district prison at dawn after breaking open cell doors, state news agency NNA said, adding security forces had cordoned off surrounding areas.

Security forces told Reuters that some 69 prisoners had escaped and that eight had been caught. Five of the prisoners died after a car they seized crashed into a tree, they said.

READ: Riots erupt in Lebanon's prisons in protest at overcrowding

Authorities have launched an investigation into the jailbreak, NNA said.

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 is one long tale of disaster and crisis – Cartoon [Sabaaneh/MiddleEastMonitor]

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