Three inmates die in Lebanese prison riots

15:21, April 07, 2011      

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A relative of an inmate throws stones at the riot police during a protest near the Roumieh prison, east of Beirut, Lebanon, April 6, 2011. Three inmates at Lebanon's largest prison, the Roumieh prison, died during an overnight riot starting late Tuesday night when security forces stormed the complex to end a riot by prisoners protesting against overcrowding, security sources said. (Xinhua/Koka)

Three inmates died after the Lebanese security forces stormed the country's largest prison complex to contain riots, a security source told Xinhua Wednesday.

One of the inmates succumbed to his wounds during the riots, another died after a sound grenade he was hurling at the security forces detonated.

An autopsy report confirmed the death of a third inmate from a heart failure.

Several hundred members of the Internal Security Forces and the Lebanese Army stormed the Roumieh Prison complex late Tuesday after inmates refused to halt the riots reiterating their demands for general amnesty and better prison conditions.

The raid lasted for 10 hours as a special force known as the " Pumas" in cooperation with the army commandos used percussion grenades and tear gas to quell the violence.

Nine civilians and four police officers were slightly wounded as a result of clashes between the riot police and relatives of inmates who were protesting outside the prison.

The relatives held a violent protest Tuesday outside the prison, demanding their rights for visits and reiterating prisoners' demands. They also threw rocks and shouted insults at the riot police.

They renewed their protest outside the prison Wednesday, but were soon scattered by the security forces.

"A prison maintenance team is now working to fix the damage resulting from riots," the security sources said, adding that prison visits were still suspended.

The country's caretaker interior minister said there are 3,700 prisoners residing in the Roumieh prison, which was initially built to hold 1,050 inmates.

Source: Xinhua

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