BEIRUT — Nabatieh's acting investigative judge Ahmad Mezher released on Thursday Yahia Ali Badreddine, who had held up a Bankmed branch in Nabatieh, South Lebanon, and managed to withdraw part of his blocked savings, after more than 11 hours of negotiations with the establishment.
According to our correspondent in the South, Judge Mezher conditioned the release of Badreddine to the payment of a LL3 million financial bond.
The 55-year-old supermarket owner broke into his bank on Oct. 6 with a gun, took the branch employees hostage and demanded access to his savings which amounted to about $150,000. He was finally able to recover $11,000 in "fresh" dollars and the rest of his savings in Lebanese lira, at the rate of LL8,000 per dollar. After handing over the money to his son, who remained free, the depositor turned himself in to the Internal Security Forces.
The Association of Depositors in Lebanon tweeted Thursday that another depositor, Ali Hassan Hedrej, was also released.
Hedrej broke into a Sour branch of Byblos Bank with a gun more than a week ago. After negotiations, he managed to withdraw LL352 million from his account before handing himself over to the Internal Security Forces.
Such incidents, sometimes carried out at gunpoint, have been on the rise lately in Lebanon, as depositors fail to withdraw their own savings which have been blocked since the economic crisis onset in 2019.
A week ago, Sali Hafez, who held up a Sodeco Blom Bank with a fake gun on Sept. 14 in Beirut and had been on the run since, was released on financial bail with a six-month travel ban after she appeared in court on Thursday.
Additional reporting by Muntasser Abdallah