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Lebanese “prisons need urgent and drastic reform,” human rights watchdog Amnesty International said in a report published Wednesday, condemning a “sharp increase in custodial deaths.” The report claimed that 34 people died in Interior Ministry-run prisons in 2022, double the number of custodial deaths registered four years earlier. Amnesty condemned “overcrowding, lack of adequate resources and impunity for ill-treatment” of prisoners. The Lebanese government “must decongest prisons” and “commit additional resources to ensure people in prison are receiving adequate health care,” the NGO’s deputy director for the Middle East and North Africa, Aya Majzoub, said. Last May, Lebanon’s Committee for the Prevention of Torture described the country’s detention centers as “horrific” and conducive to disease outbreaks. Prisoners’ relatives last December denounced the outbreak of skin diseases in the Roumieh prison, the country’s main detention center.
Activists William Noun and Peter Bou Saab, whose brothers Joe Noun and Joe Bou Saab were killed in the Aug. 4, 2020 Beirut port blast, "pledged to no longer commit acts of vandalism," their lawyer, Ralph Tannous, told L'Orient Today. The vow comes after a hearing with the two activists at the Verdun police station over alleged vandalism committed during a protest by blast victims’ relatives calling for the probe to resume after its paralysis for over 13 months. "We're going to calm down for the time being because a judge has been appointed [to investigate a lawsuit brought by Lebanon's top prosecutor Ghassan Oueidat against blast probe lead investigator Judge Tarek Bitar]. But by Aug. 4, we won't just be burning down the courthouse; we'll burn down the whole of Lebanon," Bou Saab said while leaving the police station. In January, Oueidat sued Bitar after the lead investigator named him in an attempt to relaunch the probe despite facing unresolved dismissal requests.
Banque du Liban (BDL) Vice Governor Wassim Mansouri is expected to succeed current, embattled chief Riad Salameh at the end of his term, caretaker Prime Minister Najib Mikati said. “We have been in contact with Wassim Mansouri, who is preparing to assume the responsibilities of governor of BDL,” Mikati said. Controversy has stirred over the caretaker government’s ability to appoint a new BDL governor amid the presidential vacancy. In January, Salameh said he intends to step away from the central bank after three decades in office. He is currently facing several international and local probes into alleged corruption.
Parliament Speaker and Amal Movement head Nabih Berri confirmed that his party, along with Hezbollah and their allies, would vote for Marada Movement leader Sleiman Frangieh during the 12th presidential election next Wednesday. “It's possible that other parliamentary groups will opt for a blank vote because of their dissatisfaction with the candidates, but we have no plans to do the same,” Berri said, denying rumors that they would vote blank. Parliament was scheduled to convene for the first presidential election session since January after the Lebanese Forces, the Free Patriotic Movement and opposition parties announced their support for the former Finance Minister and International Monetary Fund senior official Jihad Azour.
In case you missed it, here’s our must-read story from yesterday: “A double-edged sword: Inside the NSSF’s accounts”
Compiled by Abbas Mahfouz
Want to get the Morning Brief by email? Click here to sign up.Lebanese “prisons need urgent and drastic reform,” human rights watchdog Amnesty International said in a report published Wednesday, condemning a “sharp increase in custodial deaths.” The report claimed that 34 people died in Interior Ministry-run prisons in 2022, double the number of custodial deaths registered four years...