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Prisoners in Lebanon Suffer from Hunger and Spread of Diseases

Lebanese MP George Okais, a member of the “Strong Republic” parliamentary bloc, published on his Twitter account pictures showing cases of scabies and skin diseases that are spread among prisoners in Roumieh prison, east of Lebanon and largest prison in Lebanon.

The capacity of Roumieh prison – which currently houses about 3,200 prisoners – is only 1,500 prisoners, and its administration prevents prisoners’ families and visitors from entering food or any other goods from outside the prison kiosk, claiming that it may contain prohibited items such as drugs.

Okais – who was a judge before his election as a deputy – attached the photos saying “Roumieh prison is a blatant example of the state’s failure and dissolution. Cases of scabies and skin diseases are frighteningly rampant among prisoners, as a result of the polluted water used in prison. There is no meaning for Christmas if we do not think about these. These pictures are drawn by the relevant ministers and the competent authorities, and I urge the Chairman of the Human Rights Committee to act.”

Human rights activist Nawal Mudallali commented, “in the opinion of the state, these are not human beings. Neglect increases crime. A crime against humanity and a violation of human rights.”

Jurist Bassam Al-Kuntar commented, “I invite the Committee for the Prevention of Torture to visit the prison and prepare a detailed report on the various health aspects of the inmates. Similar cases were previously observed during the committee’s first visit several months ago.”

The Lebanese newspaper An-Nahar published a report revealing the poor humanitarian and living conditions inside Roumieh prison, especially with the deteriorating economic and financial conditions in the country.

In the testimony of one of the prisoners, he said: “The administration has now allocated two meals for the prisoner at a rate of 100 grams for each meal, after it used to allocate 3 meals at a rate of 200 grams for each meal, in addition to the deterioration of their quality.” Treatment in prison has become non-existent, as all medicine has become at the expense of the prisoner, in addition to securing 20% of the cost of operations and x-rays.

We call on the Lebanese government to provide a humane life for prisoners inside its prisons. Humanitarian laws place the responsibility of providing an acceptable life for prisoners on the shoulders of the state that imprisons them, with the need to provide the basic requirements of life such as food, drink, and treatment.

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