At least 29 prisoners were killed in clashes with Venezuelan police

Venezuela
File Photo

UNITED STATES (VOP TODAY NEWS) — At least 29 prisoners were killed and 19 policemen wounded in Venezuela on Friday during clashes in a crowded detention center in the town of Acarigua in the western state of Portuguese, authorities said.

The security chief of the state of Portugal, Oscar Valero, said that the intervention of special police forces to prevent a “mass escape attempt” resulted in a “death toll of 29 prisoners.”

He said the rebels fired “bullets of bullets” at the police and threw three grenades at them, wounding 19 of them.

The previous toll prepared by the “Freedom Window” to defend the rights of prisoners talked about 25 dead among the detainees.

Carlos Nieto, the organization’s director, said a group intervened at the detention center to free visitors taken hostage. The latter, who is considered the leader of the insurgency, was killed in the clashes.

Since Thursday, social networks have been circulating a video showing a detainee at Akarigua prison, partially covered in his face and apparently armed with a gun and two bombs, threatening two women. “They will not put me in jail because I am ready to die,” said one of the hostages, who called for help.

500 prisoners in 60 places –

In Venezuela, cases of violence recur in remand centers, where prisoners are presumed to stay no longer than 48 hours, in accordance with the Penal Code.

According to Freedom Window, 500 such centers are in the country, receiving a total of 55,000 prisoners, with barely a capacity of 8,000.

In Acarigua prison, which seats 60 people, 500 people are detained, according to a police report that AFP has seen.

Carlos Nieto said the rebels were demanding “food and transfer to prisons,” also condemning “abuses” committed by police officers charged with monitoring them.

“The detention centers are not suitable places to detain detainees for more than 48 hours, and the ministry is responsible for taking care of prisoners, but it does not do what it has to do,” he said.

He added that the situation was “chaotic” in prisons, pointing to the increased control of gangs.

In response to an AFP question, Humberto Prado, director of the Venezuelan Observatory for Prisons, condemned the “massacre”.

On March 28, 2018, 68 inmates died in a fire in their cells during a rebellion in a prison in Valencia (north). In August 2017, 37 prisoners died in a prison in the state of Amazonas (south), during a rebellion as well.

According to humanitarian organizations, more than 400 people have been killed since 2011 in Venezuelan prisons where corruption, malnutrition and lack of care are added to chronic violence in a country that for months has been facing an ongoing economic crisis.

Non-governmental organizations, the police special forces, have always accused human rights violations, including extrajudicial killings, as part of the fight against crime.

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