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Latino Daily News

Tuesday June 24, 2014

Venezuelan Prison Riot Leaves 3 Dead - One of Country’s Most Violent Prisons

Three people died and several were injured in a riot at a prison in western Venezuela, authorities said Monday.

The incident took place Sunday at Uribana penitentiary, where 58 people died in distubances in January 2013.

“Three of our ministry guards were overcome, kidnapped and robbed of their service weapons” by a score of inmates brandishing a grenade, a communique from the Penitentiary Service Ministry said.

The prisoners then detonated the grenade, killing the three guards and wounding seven other members of the prison staff, for which a militarized police unit was dispatched to control the situation.

Authorities determined that it was a female visitor who “entered the establishment with a grenade” hidded in her intimate parts that gave rise to the situation, the ministry said.

It also reported that a total of 29 people - 26 inmates and three visitors - were turned over to the authorities investigating the murders.

Uribana is one of the “three most violent jails” in Venezuela, according to the director of the independent Venezuelan Prison Observatory, Humberto Prado.

A riot during a search in January 2013 in Uribana left 58 dead and 90 injured.

In July 2011, then-President Hugo Chavez created the Penitentiary Service Ministry following the biggest crisis ever seen in the Venezuelan prison system at El Rodeo II jail near Caracas, which for almost a month was in the hands of some 1,000 armed prisoners holding out against a military siege.

According to the Prison Observatory, 506 inmates died in Venezuelan jails in 2013, some 14 percent fewer than in 2012.

The Andean nation’s penitentiary system is holding some 53,000 convicts and defendants awaiting trial in institutions built to house a total of 16,000 people.

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