Militia releases Lebanese detainees
Thursday, 13 January, 2000, 12:03 GMT
Israel's militia allies in southern Lebanon, the South Lebanon Army, say they have freed 25 detainees from prison.
The three women and 22 men, who had been held without trial, were handed over to officials from the International Committee of the Red Cross.
An SLA statement said the releases were timed to coincide with the end of Ramadan, but gave no further details. The releases had been expected last week but were delayed.
Lebanese security services said the released prisoners were all elderly or ill.
It is estimated that at least 120 Lebanese are still being held without trial in Khiam jail, which is inside the area of Lebanon occupied by Israel.
They were held for allegedly helping Lebanese-based groups fighting to force Israel from the occupied area, which Israel calls a security zone.
Human rights organisations, such as Amnesty International, describe Khiam as a brutal jail where torture takes place. The jail is manned by the SLA under Israeli supervision.

Missing airman
The leader of the Hezbollah guerrilla group said on Wednesday it was looking for an Israeli airman missing since his fighter plane was shot down over Lebanon in 1985.
Sheik Hassan Nasrallah said he hoped Ron Arad would be found alive and exchanged for Lebanese prisoners.
Hezbollah has repeatedly denied holding Mr Arad captive but add that it is in their interests to find him if he is alive.
The Khiam releases on Thursday came as Lebanese state radio reported that Israeli warplanes were firing on southern Lebanon.
Last December, Israel released, for the first time since the start of the peace process, Palestinians who had killed Israelis or tourists.
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