At least 17 people lost their lives during a mutiny on Friday May 1 in a prison in western Venezuela.

"Public order disturbances" took place in the Los Llanos prison center in Guanare, when detainees broke down "the security fencing around the perimeter" outside the prison, "in an attempt to massive escape ", according to a military report. The death toll is 17 dead and nine injured, but it could climb, the document said.

Prison staff, guarded by soldiers, attempted mediation with the chief of the mutineers. But the inmates attacked them violently, injuring the prison director "on the shoulder with a sharp object".

"They have neither bread nor water"

"The conflict is ongoing," said Carolina Giron, of the Venezuelan Prison Observatory, an NGO that defends the rights of detainees. According to her, the detainees rose up because they were victims of violence and "because they are not allowed any visit and they have no bread or water". According to her, 2,500 prisoners are crammed into an establishment with a capacity of 750 places.

Due to the coronavirus pandemic that is also raging in Venezuela, family and family visits to detainees have been interrupted. However, detainees often receive food and medicine through these visits. According to the Observatory, some 97 detainees died behind bars last year, 70% of them due to diseases such as tuberculosis, due to lack of medicines and medical care.

Another detainee advocacy organization, Una Ventana a la libertad (A Window on Freedom), said that some 192 people died last year in police station cells due to lack of space in prisons. Venezuelan authorities say no cases of coronavirus have been recorded in the country's prisons.

With AFP

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