Libyan Justice Ministry officials are struggling to downplay a major prison break today in the capital city of Tripoli, where 120 people escaped from al-Jadaida Prison. They insist that the escapees are just “common criminals” and would soon be recaptured.
Libya’s ramshackle prison system has come under fire internationally, with many of the prisons under the control of random militias and filled with whichever enemies they happened to capture and hold without charges. Al-Jadaida, however, is one of the few prisons actually run by the Justice Ministry itself.
Not that this has made the prison run any more smoothly, as al-Jadaida saw a major mutiny in August and now a major escape. Officials say they are on “high alert” to capture the escapees.
The details of how the escape happened are unclear, and usually such major prison breaks are the result of militant attacks to free captured members, not just random criminals who somehow got out. The Justice Ministry promised an investigation into the matter.