BEIRUT — Six catering companies warned in a letter addressed to caretaker Interior Minister Bassam Mawlawi on Thursday that they will halt providing foodstuffs to prisons if seven months of outstanding payments are not settled by Sept. 1, the state-run National News Agency reported.
Here’s what we know:
• The companies that supply food to the prisons of Roumieh, Zahle and Tripoli, as well as the Baabda women's prison, said in the letter that they have received “repeated promises” that they will be paid, none of which has yet materialized. The suppliers added that they “can no longer continue their deliveries, especially amid the country’s difficult conditions and in the face of the continuous fluctuations in the Lebanese lira exchange rate.”
• In March 2021, Lebanon’s general prosecutor Ghassan Oueidat ordered a probe following press reports of a starvation risk in the country’s prisons.
• This comes amid an economic crisis that has plunged more than 80 percent of Lebanese below the poverty line and aggravated the already poor conditions inside Lebanon's prisons, where overcrowding and lack of medical care regularly cause protests and riots by inmates.