Crime & Justice

At least 13 killed in new Ecuador prison riot

Quito, Jul 18 (EFE).- At least 13 people were killed and another two injured in clashes between inmates of a prison in the city of Santo Domingo in north-central Ecuador on Monday, the country’s prison agency said.

The National Service for the Comprehensive Care of Adults Deprived of their Liberty and Adolescent Offenders (SNAI) said it had recovered control of the prison, known as Bellavista.

“Control of the Santo Domingo Deprivation of Liberty Center No. 1 was regained with the support of the police and the armed forces. Unfortunately, the center’s staff currently report 13 PDL (persons deprived of liberty) dead and 2 injured,” the SNAI said on Twitter.

“The institutions in charge of internal and external security continue to guard the center. Meanwhile, the verification of the deceased will be carried out by the prosecutor’s office,” the agency added.

The Human Rights Secretariat said that it has activated psychological first aid for the family members of the inmates and coordinated other actions with the SNAI and other entities of the National Social Rehabilitation System.

Some of the inmates’ relatives said that the brawl began in a minimum security ward, attacked by inmates from another section.

During the riot, family members of inmates in other prisons demanded protection from the authorities in order to prevent the violence from spreading to other jails.

It was the second riot at the Santo Domingo prison, after 44 people were killed and 10 injured in another in May.

Some 400 inmates have died over the past two years in Ecuador in clashes between rival gangs vying for the control of prisons, according to authorities. Forty-six people were killed in 2020, while the number of deaths skyrocketed to 316 last year.

In October, the National Social Rehabilitation System outlined a work plan to strengthen the prison system and address the crisis.

Academic experts also participated in the preparation of the plan, contributing to the formulation of reforms to the regulations and the updating of a public policy with a focus on human rights.

President Guillermo Lasso’s government declared a state of emergency in the prison system in September to undertake improvements in social rehabilitation centers and address overcrowding and violence in jails. EFE


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