On Tuesday, Ecuador’s National Police officers and the Armed Forces developed an operation in the Azuay province high-security prison to prevent a possible riot.
“Our security forces maintain full control of the Azuay detention center. Nevertheless, we do not rule out that violent acts occur in other prisons after the May 9 riot in Santo Domingo City’s Bella Vista jail, in which 44 prisoners were killed,” Police Commander Fausto Salinas stated.
He attributed this incident to the rivalry between rival gangs Los Lobos and R7 members, who were blamed for introducing four rifles, three pistols, a revolver, four grenades, 1,800 caliber cartridges, and three clips of ammunition in the Bella Vista jail.
Taking advantage of the guards’ loss of control of the prison, 220 detainees escaped from the Bella Vista jail. Nevertheless, authorities managed to recapture 200 of them hours later.
���� #Ecuador: UN anti-torture bodies #CAT & #SPT express alarm at ongoing massive violence in the prison system. They urge authorities to enhance security inside prisons by reducing overpopulation, preventing self-administration and ensuring accountability: https://t.co/gozTj2mUuy pic.twitter.com/yGA2sQ7gLd
— UN Treaty Bodies (@UNTreatyBodies)
December 2, 2021
Over the last two years, 390 inmates have died in clashes related to gangs that are vying for internal control of prisons, in many of which overcrowding reached 62 percent.
To prevent new riots from occurring, Interior Minister Patricio Carrillo proposed to grant pardons to prisoners convicted of minor crimes, deny benefits to those involved in violent actions within the prison, and subject them to a more demanding disciplinary regime.
«This approach will be unfruitful since it is fed by stigmatizing and reductionist discourses that dehumanize people deprived of liberty,» Ecuador’s Alliance for Human Rights argued and urged the development of alternative crime prevention policies.