Tripoli, 13 August 2013:
Some 14,000 prisoners remain at large, having escaped from jails across the country since the start of the . . .[restrict]revolution, according to Interior Minister, Mohamed Sheikh.
However, the number has been put at 17,000 by a Libya Shield support unit, a figure which includes prisoners released by the Qaddafi regime at the start of the revolution.
Sheikh yesterday told security and administration departments in the Ministry that these escaped criminals were aggravating the security situation and measures must be taken to track them down.
Two days earlier, President of the General National Congress (GNC) Nuri Abu Sahmain ordered security forces to step up their searches for the escaped prisoners, who are being blamed by some for the recent spate of crimes and attacks.
Interior Ministry spokesman Rami Kaal told the Libya Herald that the Ministry had boosted security measures to help recapture escapees and put them back behind bars.
“Many of the escapees are convicted criminals serving heavy sentences,” Kaal said, “and we are collaborating with the Ministry of Justice’s Judicial Police department to catch them.”
The biggest prison break was from Kuwafiyah Prison on 27 July, when 1,200 inmates escaped during a prison riot. The Ministry of Interior has published a list naming the escapees, which it has circulated to all border crossings and airports, said Kaal.
However, the figures for recapturing offenders remain very low. This week, three prisoners were caught in Ajdabiya, Kaal said, adding that other days were more successful, with 15 or 20 prisoners being recaptured and returned to prison. [/restrict]