BEIRUT — Young Lebanese Sali Hafiz, who held up a branch of Blom Bank in Beirut on Sept. 14, and her sister Ikram who is the depositor in the bank, were released Thursday on a LL1 million bail, each, after their first hearing session with Beirut's first investigative Judge Charbel Abou Samra, Hafez's lawyer Ali Abbas told L'Orient Today.
According to Abbas, Hafez, who was on the run in an undisclosed location in the Beqaa till now, and her sister, are also banned from traveling for six months, while Blom Bank has dropped charges against Hafez. He also added that there is another hearing session on Oct. 13 for Hafez and the two activists who helped her during the holdup, Abdel Rahman Zakaria and Mohammad Rustom, which coincides with the date Parliament will be meeting to elect the next Lebanese president.
These developments occur simultaneously with another bank holdup taking place on Thursday in a bank in Nabatieh, South Lebanon.
On Sept. 14, Hafez held up the Blom Bank branch in Sodeco square, Achrafieh, armed with a toy gun. She said her actions were intended to help secure funds for her sister, Nancy, who has cancer. On the same day, another holdup took place in Bank Med in Aley, southeast of Beirut.
Two days later, on Friday, five bank holdups took place across the country by depositors wanting to recover their own funds amid Lebanon's financial collapse. The decision prompted banks to close for a week but have opened after with limited capacity.
On Wednesday, new actions against the banks were carried out by depositors, including MP Cynthia Zarazir and a bank in Jbeil, which was targeted by gunshots by a disgruntled depositor. Also on Wednesday, in front of Banque du Liban in Beirut, dozens of activists demonstrated, protesting the freezing of their money in banks.