More than 60 prisoners escape from Lebanese prison, security sources say

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© Reuters. Lebanese police stand next to damaged car in Hadath

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BEIRUT (Reuters) – More than 60 prisoners escaped from a Lebanese prison on Saturday and five of them were killed when their car hit a tree as they were being pursued, security sources said and the official news agency.

They fled the Baabda district prison at dawn after opening the doors to the cells, the state-run NNA news agency said, adding that security forces had cordoned off surrounding areas.

Security forces told Reuters that some 69 prisoners escaped and eight were arrested. Five of the prisoners died after a car they seized crashed into a tree, they said.

Authorities have opened an investigation into the prison break, NNA said.

In April, Amnesty International said there had been riots in Lebanese prisons and sit-in protests by families calling for the release of prisoners over concerns over the spread of COVID-19 in overcrowded prisons.

He said that while the Lebanese government had taken several measures, including some releases, the authorities should prioritize the release of prisoners who had served their sentences and speed up its review of those in pretrial detention.

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