Seven prisoners appeared hanged in the same prison in Ecuador where a massacre took place less than a month ago. The inmates were in a minimum security pavilion and an investigation is being carried out to determine whether it is a settling of scores, as the deputy director of the penitentiary system, Ángel Zapata, told the local press. In a statement that was later deleted from social media, on the other hand, prison authorities attribute it to an “alleged suicide”.
The seven inmates were found hanging on Saturday morning, despite all the country’s prisons having been under a state of emergency since early October. President Guillermo Lasso decreed the emergency to try to regain control in prisons and prevent further clashes like the massacre that ended with 118 prisoners killed, dismembered and decapitated 20 days ago.
Control within the prison took more than a week to be resumed, by police action. The government recognized at the time that there are organized crime groups rooted in the country that are behind the riots in the jails and “who have a power equal and superior to the State itself”, in the words of the former director of the penitentiary system who now runs the Center of State Strategic Intelligence.
Two weeks after the violent confrontation at the Guayaquil Penitentiary, the largest prison in the country, four inmates were hanged in their cells, in what was also called “alleged suicide”.
Since this week, Ecuador has been in a state of emergency due to the peak of insecurity that triggered violent deaths in 10 months and carried out in a criminal manner. The Army was mobilized to help the police with patrol work. The Executive links all these episodes of violence in the streets and in jails, such as the death of world-class sprinter Álex Quiñónez, to the impact of drug trafficking.
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