BEIRUT: Islamist inmates briefly held hostage 10 guards at Lebanon’s largest prison Friday after police prevented a woman from visiting one of the detainees, security sources said.
The sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the female visitor lacked a permit from the public prosecution’s office to see the inmate.
Upon hearing the news, inmates in block B of the jail, where authorities have little authority, snatched the 10 guards and held them for a short period of time.
The sources said the detainees saw the move as an opportunity to pressure the judiciary into speeding up their overdue trials.
Following negotiations at the prison, the inmates let their captives go, the sources said.
Some 300 Islamist prisoners have been detained without trial since 2007. The men were detained in 2007 on suspicion of engaging the Army in the Palestinian refugee camp of Nahr al-Bared in north Lebanon and belonging to Al-Qaeda affiliated Fatah al-Islam.
The inmates have been behind several riots inside Roumieh prison.
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on March 02, 2013, on page 2.