Contributor(s)Prison Insider

Daily life

The prison conditions are problematic, especially in Roumieh prison. The government acknowledges the lack of proper sanitation facilities, ventilation, lighting and temperature regulation. Access to drinking water is not guaranteed. At Roumieh prison, the cells originally built for two, sometimes hold ten prisoners.

Police stations were never meant to house people for more than a few hours, pointed out the Lebanese Centre for Human Rights in its 2015 report. The cells are tiny and some have no windows with poor ventilation.

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) provided funding to repair the ventilation systems in the Riyaniyeh military prison and to install a new one in Tripoli prison1.

In its 2013 report, ALEF denounces the poor quality of food in prison facilities. Some prisoners are deprived of food if they do not obey the “shawish” (see Prison Population) or guards.

The police stations, where some people may be jailed for several weeks, are not part of the prison food supply network, reported the Lebanese Centre for Human Rights (LCHR) in April 2015.

The number of medical personnel is insufficient. Although medical care has improved at Roumieh prison thanks to better equipment and training, it is still inadequate. The medical centres are overworked and NGOs report deaths due to negligence and the medical system’s lack of capacity.

In its January 2013 report, ALEF emphasised the problem of drugs. A former prisoner told Equaltime in 2015 that he had been incarcerated with drug traffickers, even though he himself was a drug addict. Large quantities of drugs are widespread in Roumieh prison. The guards let them in and use them as well. The medical service does not include addiction programs and there is no psychiatric care, added the Association for Justice and Mercy (Association justice et miséricorde (AJEM)).

In 2015, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) assisted in the construction of a new medical centre in the Zahlé Prison. It had taken part in disinfecting Tripoli Prison cells in 2014 to prevent the spread of scabies and other contagious diseases1.

  1. International Committee of the Red Cross, “Lebanon: ICRC working with Lebanese authorities to improve prison conditions”, 30 June 2015 

Riots occur frequently at Roumieh prison because of overcrowding.

Secretly obtained videos containing scenes of prisoners being tortured by guards were shown one month after the April 2015 riot at Roumieh prison. They are evidence of serious crimes committed in this facility1.

A new riot occurred on 23 June 2015, in this same facility where the prisoners made a list of requests to improve their detention conditions. They demanded a Wi-Fi connection and access to mobile phones2.

  1. 2015 annual reports of Human Rights Watch and of Amnesty International published in 2016 

  2. International Business Times, “Rioters at infamous Roumieh prison list Wi-Fi in demands for improved conditions”, 23 June 2015