Dozens Killed In Prison Riot: Mourning Families, Human Rights Groups Criticize Venezuelan Inaction
By IBTimes Staff Reporter | January 27, 2013 10:57 AM EST
A Venezuelan prison riot has left dozens dead, with estimates ranging from 54 to 93 killed, as the violence stretched into its second day Saturday.
Venezuelan National Guard troops were forced to respond to the scene at the Uribana prison in Barquisimeto in the western state of Lara, after a fight broke out when officials attempted to organize a search of the penitentiary, according to Agence France-Presse via Google. Armed inmates clashed with prison guards when they tried to inspect a cell block.
Prison Minister Iris Varela said media outlets may have inadvertently tipped off prisoners that a search was imminent, thereby “triggering the violence,” although she added the exact details remain unclear.
While Varela didn’t offer a death toll during her televised comments Friday, she did add that part of the inmate population was being transferred to a nearby facility to “close this chapter of violence.”
Bloomberg News reported the prison was designed to house 850 inmates, but that almost twice that number currently reside there.
“There was a situation of tragic confusion that we greatly regret,” Venezuelan Vice President Nicolas Maduro said on state television Saturday morning. “The plan to reform our prisons will continue to ensure they aren’t ruled by violence, Mafia, drugs, and death, as they have been for a long time.”
Families of the inmates wept outside as bodies, many of them disfigured, were removed from the prison. Only 12 have been identified so far, according to the Los Angeles Times.
The Uribana facility is a notoriously violent prison that is home to some of Venezuela’s worst street gangs. Human-rights groups have long advocated change at the penitentiary, citing overcrowding. Two watchdog groups released a joint statement in the wake of the most recent riot, calling on Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez to make good on his promise to improve prison conditions.
“No one doubts that inspections are necessary procedures to guarantee prison conditions in line with international standards, but they can’t be carried out with the warlike attitude as (authorities) have done it,” human-rights leader Humberto Prado told the Associated Press. “It’s clear that the inspection wasn’t coordinated or put into practice as it should have been. It was evidently a disproportionate use of force.”
To contact the editor, e-mail:
Most Popular Slideshows
- Taylor Swift Named Forbes' Second Highest Paid Country Musician [PHOTOS]
- Celebrities Who Got Pregnant Using IVF: Busting the Myths About IVF
- Global Aviation Accidents: UN to Form Safety Task Force, Gov'ts Should Share Intelligence Info to Avert Future Incidents on Flying Over Warzones (PHOTOS)
- PageSix: Beyonce & Jay Z Union is Not About Love, All About Business & the Brand
Join the Conversation
- The Burka Avenger Educates Children While Fighting For Girls' Education Rights In New Pakistan TV Show
- Christopher Walken To Play Mob Boss In Film Adaptation Of Four Seasons Musical 'Jersey Boys'
- William Cantrell Mistakes Human Ashes For Cocaine, May Have Snorted Remains
- Giant Alligator Eats 80-Pound Dog In North Carolina, Gator May Still Be Alive
- Steve McQueen's Last Ride, 1952 Custom Chevy Pickup Truck, Hits The Auction Block
- Apple iPhone 6 Release Date Update: 6 Most Wanted Feature Upgrades for Next iPhone
- Moto X Android 4.4.4 KitKat Update Guide: Schedule and How to Install
- Top 4 Reasons Why iPhone 6 Will Hit Big Soon After its Sept 2014 Release Date
- Top Surprising Features Of iOS 8
- Twin Malaysia Airlines MH370, MH17 Aviation Disasters Create Phobia Among Travellers
- HTC One M8 Windows Phone to Launch for Verizon; Release Date, Price, Five Fresh Features to Anticipate for New Smartphone
- OnePlus One vs. Moto X+1 – Early Specifications, Release Date and Price Faceoff