Killing 170 Lebanese soldiers doesn't make you popular when you end up in prison. It now seems that regular Lebanese prisoners are beating the crap out of Fatah al Islam terrorists in a Lebanese jail.
[As I did not get this story fully confirmed by authorities yet, I have to use the phrase "it seems they are being beaten up" instead of "they are being beaten up".]
This, according to sources, is currently going on in the Roumieh prison, Lebanon's main penitentiary facility, located close to Beirut.
"The atmospfere in the prison is very tensed," says a well informed source, who wants to stay anonymous. According to this source, non-political inmates (basically regular criminals) are beating and fighting the pro-Al-Qaeda-inmates of Fatah al Islam. Because of the sensitivity of the matter, it is unclear how many Islamic militants have been beaten up. And, if so, how serious the beatings are (or were).
Lebanese soldiers have gained a true hero's status in Lebanon after they successfully fought these Islamic militants. The 170 or so soldiers who died are considered martyrs by most Lebanese. Subsequently, their murderers are among the most hated in the country (let's not forget, Fatah al Islam beheaded some soldiers).
Due to safety reasons, the Fatah al Islam-terrorist were put in several different cells in order to mix them with regular inmates. This because the authorities are scared of a prison break (with possible outside help of Al-Qaeda units) in case the Al-Qaeda supporters are put together and in only one part of the prison. Generally, eight inmates share one prison cell in the Roumieh-complex.
"There are fights taking place between the two groups," says yet another source here in Beirut, "Fatah al Islam guys aren't very popular in jail; to say the least."
According to a Lebanese army officer, the Fatah al Islam militants are lucky to be in Roumieh prison, which is controlled by the ministry of Interior, not the ministry of Defence. "If we could pay them a visit," he says, "We for sure would know how to deal with them."
Prison life is never fun ("Pick up the soap, boy!"). But it seems easier to be a pedophile in a Thai jail than a Fatah al Islam guy in a Lebanese prison.