At least 47 people were killed and 75 injured after a prison riot turned violent in Los Llanos prison centre in Guanare, Venezuela. In past, NGOs, as well as family members of inmates have repeatedly questioned the clamped up and inhumane space in the prisons.
Maria Beatriz Martinez, a parliamentary deputy reportedly confirmed the figures provided by Venzeualn Prison Observatory. Martinez also confirmed that all those who died were inmates.
According to an army report, the prisoner stated the disruption by destroying the “security fences around the perimeter” in a “massive escape attempt” The reports also added that the riot also claimed the life of the prison's director. However, Martinez denied the account stating that the prisoners started the riots because they did not have access to food.
According to the Venezuelan Prison Observatory (OVP), guards opened fire after the incident. In recent times, owing to coronavirus pandemic, visits from family and friends bringing food for the inmates have reduced. Speaking to international media reporters, Carolina Giron of OVP said that the identities of those killed were verified "through the morgue, thanks to relatives who recognised the dead in photos that were shown to them on a computer. However, OVP continues to accuse the guards of not transferring the food to providers resulting in the riots.
Venezuela has roughly 30 prisons and 500 jails that can hold an estimated 110,000 inmates. Human rights officials say the prisons are violent and badly overcrowded, with gangs that traffic weapons and drugs in control. A similar riot occurred a year ago in a nearby jail also in the state of Portuguese, where 29 inmates died at a police jail that housed several hundred detainees. Violence broke out when armed inmates objected to officers entering the jail.
A once-wealthy oil nation, Venezuela is gripped by a deepening political and economic crisis. Street violence is common in the nation that has had nearly 5 million residents flee in recent years as public services crumble.
Representative, Image Credits: redaquamedia/unsplash