Authorities retake control of Tacambú prison, Paraguay


Authorities retake control of Tacambú prison, Paraguay

October 12 | The general director of Intelligence and spokesman of the National Police of Paraguay, commissioner Ever Paris, confirmed Wednesday t

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October 12 |

The general director of Intelligence and spokesman of the National Police of Paraguay, commissioner Ever Paris, confirmed Wednesday that the prisoners who since last Tuesday had taken control of the Tacambú prison reached an agreement with the authorities, which allows the reestablishment of order there.

In statements given to the media in the vicinity of the penitentiary, the largest in the South American country, Paris reported that the inmates released the 22 guards they held captive for almost 15 hours and that the weapons they had taken from the officers were recovered.

He also explained that several women who were inside the penitentiary for family visits were released and that 11 women who were there with their respective husbands, in the section for private meetings (which last one day), will be released soon. He confirmed that they did not participate in the events.

He said that at this moment the control of the penitentiary is being reestablished and its director is again in charge of his functions. He assured that the situation is back to normal, no deaths or injuries were reported, and that the National Police will continue its preventive work in the surroundings of the prison.

Paris commented that the inmates requested a 15-day period for the reopening of family visits and for the return of a group of prisoners who were transferred to other prisons. He said that this Wednesday afternoon the Ministry of Justice is expected to hold a press conference on the case.

According to local media, a vice-minister of the Ministry of Justice, Rodrigo Nicora, who visited the place and refused to give statements, went to inform the head of the sector, Ángel Ramón Barchini, about the end of the negotiation.

Days before, the latter assured that the inmates had murdered and dismembered a former policeman held in Tacambú for homicide, Oliver Lezcano, who actually escaped from the prison. This accusation would have provoked the riot.

For his part, Paraguayan President Santiago Peña denied that there is a prison crisis in the country and that what happened is another expression of the State’s confrontation with crime. He gave his full support to Barchini, whose immediate resignation is already being demanded by legislators of the National Republican Association (Colorado Party) for his role in the events.

The rioting inmates were led by the head of the Rotela clan, Javier Rotela, who is serving time for crimes related to micro-trafficking in the metropolitan area of Asunción (capital). He is considered the king of micro-trafficking in that region of the country.

Tacambú houses 3,000 prisoners and has an overcrowding rate of 607 percent, according to criminologist and professor Juan Martens. There are approximately 16,000 prisoners in 18 penitentiaries throughout the country.