Islamist Prisoners' Families Seek to Disrupt Lebanon's May 6 Elections

Published April 17th, 2018 - 01:00 GMT
Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri in a jubilant mood (AFP/ File Photo)
Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri in a jubilant mood (AFP/ File Photo)

The families of Islamist prisoners will try to prevent May 6 elections from taking place, a lawyer representing inmates said Tuesday, a day after the Parliament speaker said discussions on general amnesty would be postponed until after voting.

The attorney said that the families “will boycott the elections due to the delay in dealing with the general amnesty file."

Earlier Tuesday, a sheikh speaking on behalf of the prisoners told Voix du Liban (100.5) that the families "would prevent the ballot boxes from reaching the schools or voting centers due to the delay."

The lawyer also said that protesting families Tuesday morning blocked a road at the Masnaa border crossing with Syria, corroborating VDL’s report.

VDL also reported that Prime Minister Saad Hariri has informed the families that general amnesty does not have the necessary political consensus to be passed.

According to VDL, Hariri is following up on the issue of Islamist inmates, President Michel Aoun is following up on those accused of collaborating with Israel, while Speaker Nabih Berri is following up on those accused of drug-related crimes.

Despite both Interior Minister Nouhad Machnouk and Hariri recently speaking of progress on the issue, Aoun said Sunday he would not sign any general amnesty decree that will “benefit those involved in the killing of soldiers.”

This was an apparent reference to Islamist militants who fought the Lebanese Army in the northern city of Tripoli and the northeastern town of Arsal in 2014.

Machnouk last month announced that the first draft of the proposed amnesty had been completed, with a final version to come “very soon.”

But in a televised interview Monday, Berri said he would “call for a plenary session of Parliament immediately after the 2018 elections,” in which he would raise the issue of the general amnesty.

The amnesty is widely expected to rescind tens of thousands of outstanding arrest warrants for alleged Islamists, as well as those accused of petty and drug-related crimes and those suspected of collaborating with Israel during its occupation of southern Lebanon. The decree is also expected to release scores of people currently imprisoned for those crimes.

This article has been adapted from its original source.

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