A grisly riot at a women’s prison in Honduras

A grisly riot at a women’s prison in Honduras on Tuesday left at least 41 women dead, most burned alive, in violence the country’s president blamed on “mara” street gangs that often wield extensive power inside prisons. . Twenty-six of the victims burned to death and the rest were shot or stabbed at the Tamara prison, about 30 miles northwest of the Honduran capital of Tegucigalpa, said Yuri Mora, a spokesman for the Honduran national police investigative agency. A grisly riot at a women’s prison in Honduras that left 41 women dead, most burned alive.

At least seven inmates were being treated at a Tegucigalpa hospital. “The forensic teams that are removing bodies confirm that they have counted 41,” Mora said. Videos shown by the government from inside the prison showed several pistols and a bunch of machetes and other bladed weapons found after the riot.

Honduran President Xiomara Castro said the riot was “planned by gangs with the knowledge and acquisition of security authorities.” Azucena Martínez, whose daughter was also detained in the prison, said that “there are many deaths, 41 already. We don’t know if our relatives are also there, dead.”


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Julissa Villanueva, head of the country’s prison system, suggested that the unrest began because of recent attempts by the authorities to crack down on illegal activities inside prisons, calling Tuesday’s violence a reaction to measures “that we are taking against the organized crime”. “We will not go back,” Villanueva said in a televised address after the riot.

Gangs exercise extensive control inside the country’s prisons, where inmates often set their own rules and sell prohibited goods. They were also apparently able to smuggle guns and other weapons, a recurring problem in Honduran prisons. “The issue is to prevent the smuggling of drugs, grenades and firearms,” said Honduran human rights expert Joaquín Mejía.

Today’s events show that they have not been able to do that.” The riot appears to be the worst tragedy at a women’s detention center in Central America since 2017, when girls at a shelter for troubled youth in Guatemala set mattresses on fire to protest rape and other severe mistreatment at the institution. overcrowded.


The resulting smoke and fire killed 41 girls. The worst prison disaster in a century also occurred in Honduras, in 2012 at the Comayagua penitentiary, where 361 inmates died in a fire possibly caused by a match, cigarette or some other open flame.

The unrest on Tuesday may add to the pressure on Honduras to emulate the drastic zero-tolerance and no-privilege prisons established in neighboring El Salvador by President Nayib Bukele. While the crackdown on gangs in El Salvador has led to rights violations, it has also proven immensely popular in a country long terrorized by street gangs.Read More……

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