Greater than 60 prisoners are fleeing the Lebanese jail, safety forces say

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© Reuters. Members of the Lebanese police stand next to a 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 during the chase, security forces and the state news agency said.

They fled the Baabda District prison at dawn after breaking open the cell doors, the state-run NNA news agency said. Security forces cordoned off the surrounding areas.

Security forces told Reuters that 69 prisoners had escaped and eight had been caught. Five of the prisoners died after a car they had confiscated crashed into a tree.

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

In April, Amnesty International announced that there had been riots and protests by families in Lebanese prisons demanding the release of prisoners over concerns about the spread of COVID-19 in overcrowded prisons.

While the Lebanese government has taken various measures, including some releases, the authorities should prioritize the release of prisoners who have served their sentences and speed up the screening of detainees on remand.

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