Middle East Human Pawns in a Sordid Game

In southern Lebanon's notorious El Khiam prison, freedom is tied to the fate of the Western hostages

Five men kneel motionless in the windowless cell as they await inspection by the guards. Only a faint light glows from the single electric bulb hanging in the corridor. Thin rubber mattresses with small gray blankets cover the 10-ft. by 13-ft. concrete floor, and the air reeks of sweat. There are no personal effects, no furniture, only a small jar of water and a big plastic can that alternates as a toilet and a washbasin.

At El Khiam prison in southern Lebanon, 304 men and women are held in such cells by the South Lebanon Army, the Israeli-sponsored 2,500-man militia that...

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