A relative of a prisoner speaks with Lebanese policemen outside the detention centre of Baabda courthouse compound on Saturday. AFP
Nearly 70 inmates broke out of a prison in Lebanon on Saturday after smashing their cell doors and attacking prison guards, police said.
Despite tight security, 69 inmates broke out of a detention facility near the presidential palace in Baabda, east of Beirut, a police statement said.
Members of the Lebanese police stand next to a damaged car in Hadath. Reuters
According to a police statement, five of the escaped inmates died when a car they stole while fleeing crashed into a tree during an ensuing police chase.
By early afternoon on Saturday, 15 had been recaptured, and another four had handed themselves back in, leaving 44 on the run.
"A manhunt is...underway to arrest the remaining fugitive prisoners," police said in a statement.
Local authorities called on residents to be on alert, with large numbers of security forces deployed searching the area. Prosecutor Ghada Aoun has ordered an immediate investigation in the breakout.
Security forces sealed off the area around the prison and were conducting a manhunt for the remaining prisoners. An investigation into the incident is underway, according to the police statement.
Relatives of the inmates gathered outside the detention centre, where some were awaiting trial. Some asked about the fate of their relatives, while others handed their sons back into custody, according to a local photographer.
A relative of a prisoner reacts outside the detention center of Baabda courthouse compound. AP
They include Joumana Berjawi, whose 22-year-old son escaped after being held for six months on charges of attempted murder — a charge she denies.
"My son was among the escapees, but I brought him back and handed him over to the state," Berjawi said.
The jailbreak comes as detainees across Lebanon have called on parliament to approve a draft general amnesty law, that would see thousands of them freed from coronavirus-hit prisons.
It wasn't clear whether the escapade succeeded in winning back the heart of the young woman, also 18, who had broken up with him by phone. The man is being investigated for trespassing and unauthorised contact with prisoners.
President Rodrigo Duterte admitted that he himself was also "affected" by the tough rules being imposed for people to stay at home and observe social distancing to help prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in the country.
Justice Minister Masako Mori said on Sunday she has ordered an investigation after Ghosn issued a statement saying he was in Lebanon.
The two cousins, Davad Zukanovic, 40, and Lil Ahmetovic, 46, broke out of Rebibbia prison overnight on June 2 by scaling a wall using a water hose left in a courtyard. But before they escaped, they left a note in their cell explaining they had personal reasons for needing to flee, said the Repubblica daily.
In a tumultuous year marked by economic and social upheavals worldwide as nations battled the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic, and compounded by tragic disasters such as the Beirut port blasts and several natural calamities including devastating floods in Sudan
The decisions we make Monday will shape the world you will live in tomorrow, said Awaidha Murshed Al Marar, Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Department of Energy (DoE), while addressing the Youth 4 Sustainability (Y4S) Virtual Forum during Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week 2021.
Improving technology and digitalisation have sure contributed to the coping of countries and governments with the one-year-old Novel Coronavirus pandemic. Yet, the most compelling realisation is that health is the key to happiness, dependent on one’s attitude and perspective in life; and for which each and every individual must be responsible for.