This WikiLeaks document says Lebanon asked for Saudi support to maintain Roumieh prison

Published June 23rd, 2015 - 06:24 GMT
A Roumieh prison cell. (AFP/Ramzi Haidar)
A Roumieh prison cell. (AFP/Ramzi Haidar)

Lebanon's notorious Roumieh prison was already a source of controversy, but YouTube videos that emerged of prisoners' torture sparked further outrage. With a WikiLeaks document, Saudi Arabia may be thrown into the mix.

The document allegedly leaked from the Saudi Foreign Ministry shows a request from the Lebanese government for $2.3 million to help maintain and repair Roumieh prison, a place synonymous with human rights violations.

What the document doesn't say, unfortunately, is whether Saudi Arabia actually offered Lebanon the funds to help.

Videos earlier this week showed Lebanon's security forces torturing Roumieh detainees, leading to the arrest of five officers held responsible for the beatings. But both the Human Rights Watch and a UN report said torture in Lebanon's prisons run rampant, suggesting the officers were merely scapegoats for a serious institutional problem unlikely to go away.

The WikiLeaks document states that the Lebanese president recommended supporting Roumieh prison to the Saudi ambassador in Beirut. The government said the move would help the kingdom and clarify its support for Lebanon.

The participation in it would emphasize the kingdom’s permanent and continuous position on the Lebanese situation, and that announcing this support would serve the kingdom’s interests and its reputation to a high level.

Here's the original document: 

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