Authorities were reported Friday to have turned down a request by the international Red Cross to see Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea at his prison cell in the Defense Ministry compound in Yarze. The report by As Safir suggested the request was made by the Beirut branch of the all-Swiss International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in recent days but was quickly rejected by judicial and security authorities. It was the first reported time that the ICRC has made such a request, which is obviously motivated by reports of maltreatment in jail.
Geagea’s wife and defense attorneys have often complained about his appalling prison conditions, saying he is held in solitary confinement in an underground cell with no fresh air or sunlight. He is denied newspapers, radio and a TV set.
His release requires a special pardon by the president of the republic or a new general amnesty voted by parliament. Neither seems forthcoming in the foreseeable future.