Lebanon

Lebanon: Essential goods reach Roumieh Prison after recent rioting

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Beirut (ICRC) – The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has delivered vital aid to Beirut's Roumieh Central Prison, after recent riots caused severe damage to the facility and left hundreds of detainees without drinking water, clothing and bedding.

"Block D is severely overcrowded, which was already placing a lot of strain not only on the detainees but also on the prison staff. The damage made conditions much worse and urgent action needed to be taken," said Mathilde de Riedmatten, who heads the ICRC's activities in prisons in Lebanon. "Immediately after the riots, we offered our services to the prison authorities and they accepted."

In recent days, the ICRC provided Roumieh inmates with over 1,000 litres of drinking water, 500 mattresses and 200 clothing kits. Essential hygiene items and soap were also distributed. Seven water filters will also be installed in the prison to improve the quality of the drinking water.

"Since the riots, it's more important than ever to make sure that detainees can contact their families. That's why we exchange written or verbal messages between the detainees and their relatives. We also encourage the authorities to allow family visits for all inmates," added Ms. De Riedmatten

The ICRC has been visiting Roumieh Prison on a regular basis since 2007, after signing an agreement with the government. It also visits other prisons across Lebanon and maintains a continuous, constructive dialogue with the authorities to improve detention conditions and prison services. Since last year, the ICRC has carried out more than 200 prison visits and facilitated the exchange of 2,500 personal messages between detainees and their families.

For further information, please contact: Soaade Messoudi, ICRC Beirut, tel: +961 71 802 876 Tarek Wheibi, ICRC Beirut, tel : +961 70 153 928

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