Crime & Justice

Ecuadorian police rescue lawyers held hostage at prison

Quito, Jun 8 (EFE).- A hostage situation Thursday at a prison in this capital was brought to an end and all four captives were rescued safe and sound, Ecuadorian police said.

Authorities received an alert early Thursday that 64 inmates in one cellblock of El Inca prison were holding four attorneys hostage to press demands to be transferred to a penitentiary closer to their families, the deputy police commander in Quito, Juan Orquera, told reporters.

“We have controlled the crisis situation, we have managed to recover four lawyers who were held,” he said, adding that doctors who examined the erstwhile hostages certified that they were unharmed.

Police used “chemical agents” and other non-lethal methods to subdue the rebellious prisoners and no one was injured, Orquera said.

Relatives of the 64 inmates involved in the incident said that their loved ones are at risk inside El Inca.

“What we want is for them to be transferred because they are in danger,” Jordan Cortes said outside the prison, complaining that the director of Ecuador’s SNAI prison service declined to order the transfers even though the requests had been approved.

“We, as parents, ask that they carry out the transfer of those who are authorized, there are 64 who will go to the province of Esmeraldas,” where their families live, Cortes said.

Since the start of 2020, more than 450 inmates have died violently inside Ecuador’s prisons as a result of gang wars.

The penitentiaries are also overcrowded and some institutions are at 150 percent capacity.

Ecuador is not a producer of illegal drugs, but its ports have become favored outlets for smuggling cocaine to North America and Europe and rivalry among the various criminal organizations has led to an upsurge in violence. EFE


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