Share This Page

1,000 inmates break out of Libyan facility

| Saturday, July 27, 2013, 7:42 p.m.

TRIPOLI, Libya — More than a thousand inmates escaped a prison Saturday in Libya as protesters stormed political party offices across the country, signs of the simmering unrest gripping a nation overrun by militias and awash in weaponry.

It wasn't clear if the jailbreak at al-Kweifiya prison occurred as part of the demonstrations. Protesters had massed across Libya over the killing of an activist critical of the country's Muslim Brotherhood group.

Inmates started a riot and set fires after security forces opened fire on three detainees who tried to escape the facility outside of Benghazi, a security official at al-Kweifiya prison said. Gunmen quickly arrived at the prison after news of the riot spread, opening fire with rifles outside in a bid to free their imprisoned relatives, a Benghazi-based security official said.

Those who escaped either face or were convicted of serious charges, the prison official said.

The two officials spoke on condition of anonymity, because they weren't authorized to speak to journalists.

Special forces later arrested 18 of the escapees, while some returned on their own, said Mohammed Hejazi, a government security official in Benghazi.

At a news conference, Prime Minister Ali Zidan blamed the jailbreak on those living around the prison.

“The prison was (attacked) by the citizens who live nearby because they don't want a prison in their region” he said. “Special forces were present and could have got the situation under control by using their arms, but they had received orders not (to use) their weapons on citizens ... so the citizens opened the doors to the prisoners.”

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.