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Lebanese man freed after bank siege to access savings

18 Aug 2022 / global Print

Lebanese man freed after bank siege to access savings

A Lebanese judge has ordered the release of a man who took staff at a west Beirut bank hostage with a rifle last week while trying to access his frozen savings in order to pay hospital bills for his father. 

Bassam al-Sheikh Hussein surrendered after the Federal Bank agreed he could withdraw his savings worth £29,000, after a seven-hour stand-off.

Last Thursday, Hussein threatened to set himself on fire if staff did not allow him to withdraw all of his savings, saying he needed cash to pay for his father’s treatment.

During the incident, a crowd chanted: "Down with the rule of the banks."

Supporters also protested outside Beirut's main court building on Tuesday while Hussein's case was heard.

Charges dropped

The bank dropped the charges and a judge agreed he could be released.

Withdrawals of hard currency have been limited for most people since 2019, when the value of the Lebanese pound plummeted and inflation soared.

The country is now in deep depression, with most people living in poverty and unable to afford food and medicine.

Gazette Desk
Gazette.ie is the daily legal news site of the Law Society of Ireland