Ecuador is experiencing an unprecedented prison tragedy. At least 44 inmates died this Monday in Santo Domingo de los Cachilas prison, about 150 kilometers from Quito. The death toll is higher than the previous shock in April, when 20 detainees were killed.
Behind the massacre are two common rivals: criminal organizations called “Los Lobos” and “R7”, according to Interior Minister Patricio Carrillo.
The first report states that the massacre, which began at 1:30 a.m. local time, was mostly carried out with knives. However, according to the National Service for Comprehensive Care, the state agency responsible for prisons, four rifles, three pistols, a revolver and four grenades were found in the maximum protection pavilion where the events took place. At least 220 prisoners escaped in the midst of the massacre. So far, the government has recovered only 112 of them.
If the situation with the deaths of 46 people in prisons by 2020 was dramatic; In 2021, after the deaths of 316 detainees, the situation worsened. In this 2022, 64 deaths were recorded.
Prior to the last two massacres, Ecuadorian President Guillermo Lasso was quick to point out that prison deaths had dropped by more than 90% in the first three months of the year. But the figures have jumped into the air over the past two weeks.
The incident occurred while the president was on an official visit to Israel, where one of his goals is to gain security cooperation to deal with the violence of criminal organizations.
“We will not give up on the mafia. “Our commitment to restore order in the prisons is strong,” Lasso wrote from Israel, announcing the immediate transfer of six prisoners whom authorities have named as alleged leaders and those responsible for the massacre.
By the end of 2021, there were more than 36,000 inmates in 36 centers, with almost 40% no sentence. Overcrowding reached 62% in prisons like Guayaquil. To address the prison crisis, the government plans to grant up to 5,000 pardons to those convicted of minor crimes and to develop the country’s first human rights policy towards the prison population.
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet said on Tuesday that the recent massacre showed the need to reform the criminal justice and prison systems to address this protracted crisis.
“I must emphasize that the state’s responsibility for the safety of all those in its custody presupposes the state’s responsibility for this death,” he said.
In February last year, the Ecuadorian government launched a public policy for the social rehabilitation of prisoners, developed with the technical support of the United Nations Office for the Protection of Human Rights.
“The government should also consider the roadmap we have proposed to ensure security in prisons, to improve the conditions of prisoners and to ensure better prison management, which includes the fight against corruption,” Bachelet said.
Source: El Diario