Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

DEBATE

Iraq's Christians - Nowhere to Run? (part 2)

Read more

DEBATE

Iraq's Christians - Nowhere to Run?

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Towards a "Third Intifada"?

Read more

FOCUS

What solutions for California's overcrowded prisons?

Read more

MIDDLE EAST MATTERS

Gaza conflict: Palestinians mark sombre Eid

Read more

WEB NEWS

Celebrities in the Israel-Gaza crossfire

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Israeli strike takes out Gaza power station

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

French newspaper apologises for Sarkozy story

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

Last-ditch talks aim to avert Argentina default

Read more

  • Israel says it is 'days' from completing Gaza tunnel hunt

    Read more

  • Russia defiant as US, EU unveil 'phase three' sanctions

    Read more

  • Argentina fails to reach deal with holdout creditors

    Read more

  • Liberia shuts all schools as Ebola virus spreads

    Read more

  • US House votes to sue Obama for over-reaching his powers

    Read more

  • Suspect in Jewish Museum attack charged with 'terrorist' murder

    Read more

  • Women should not laugh in public, Turkey's deputy PM says

    Read more

  • Fourth female suicide bomber targets Nigerian city

    Read more

  • US rebounds to 4% growth in second quarter

    Read more

  • Video: Coping with rocket attacks in Israel’s Sderot

    Read more

  • Rats on the rampage at Louvre museum gardens

    Read more

  • France evacuates nationals, closes embassy in Libya

    Read more

  • 'Compelling' signs Kosovo leaders trafficked organs, prosecutor says

    Read more

  • Graphic: Ebola spreads across West Africa

    Read more

  • Video: How tourism is helping Rwanda’s gorillas, ex-poachers

    Read more

  • Islamists seize key Benghazi army base as fire rages on

    Read more

Americas

Honduras militarizes main prison after deadly riot

© AFP (file photo)

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2013-08-04

Honduras has deployed troops to its main prison in order to "end the reign of criminals", President Porfirio Lobo (pictured) said Saturday. The measure follows a gunfight which left at least three gang members dead and 12 people injured.

Honduran President Porfirio Lobo ordered the militarization of the country’s main prison on Saturday after a gunfight there left at least three gang members dead and 12 people injured, including three guards.

The aim of the measure, which involves putting soldiers in charge of the prison’s security, is to “end the reign of criminals in our prison system, which has done so much damage to our society,” Lobo said in a statement.

Police spokesman Miguel Martinez said members of the “Barrio 18” gang fought with other inmates in Honduras’ National Penitentiary, which houses 3,351 inmates and is located about 10 miles (15 kilometers) north of the capital, Tegucigalpa.

Three gang members were killed and nine injured, director of penitentiaries Jose Simeon Flores said in a press conference, adding that three guards were wounded by gunfire.

“The gang members used AK-47s, according to them, to defend themselves from other prisoners. They also exploded a fragmentation grenade,” Flores said.

The army and police are now in control of the prison, he said. Authorities are carrying out a “cell-by-cell review to find out what happened.”

Dr. Juan Ayestas, chief of emergency surgery at the Hospital Escuela in Tegucigalpa, said one of the dead inmates had a gunshot wound to the head.

A contingent of 70 soldiers and police was sent to guard the Hospital Escuela, where injured inmates were taken, for fear that their gang would try to free them.

“We have detected cars with armed men inside passing by the hospital and for this reason we are increasing security measures to avoid a tragedy,” Martinez said.

The riot and militarization of the prison comes a day after the release of an Inter-American Commission on Human Rights report that said inmates control Honduras’ 24 prisons because the state has abandoned its role in rehabilitating people convicted of crimes.

The commission said that one consequence of the state’s abandonment of the prisons is the rise of so-called systems of “self-governance” that are headed by inmates known as “coordinators.” The coordinators are picked by the inmates and set rules for the prison, including disciplinary measures.

The report said that some prisons are so poorly guarded that the inmates could escape if they wanted to, but don’t because they don’t want to upset the balance.

The commission conducted the report following a fire last year at the Comayagua prison that killed 361 inmates.

Honduran prisons operate on a Lord-of-the-Flies system that allows inmates to run businesses behind bars, while officials turn a blind eye in exchange for a cut of the profits they say is spent on prison needs.

Authorities say they carry out three searches a month in the country’s state prison and find a large quantity of arms, from guns to knives and machetes. Guards are bribed to let them bring the arms into the prison.

The government says there are 12,263 people incarcerated in Honduras even though its prisons can only hold 8,120 inmates.

(AP)

Date created : 2013-08-04

  • HONDURAS

    Prison fire kills hundreds in central Honduras

    Read more

COMMENT(S)