Colombia Mass Prison Riots Over COVID-19 Fears

Riots that broke out in 13 prisons throughout Colombia on Saturday (21.3.2020)  left at least 23 people killed and 91 injured in Bogota‘s La Modelo prison alone, according to the government.

The violence broke out over inmates’ fears that overcrowding and substandard hygiene put them at elevated risk of infection of the coronavirus.

The Ombudsman, the Inspector General’s Office, senators and inmates alike urged the Justice Minister, Margarita Cabello to declare a prison emergency and allow non-violent offenders and elderly prisoners to temporarily serve their sentence under house arrest and prevent possible disasters.

“We ask the National Government to decree a Prison Emergency. In this way, it will be possible to have exceptional instruments that facilitate releases and temporary regimes for people over 60 years old and sentences up to 8 years.”

Justice Minister Cabello said “There is not any sanitary problem that would have caused this plan and these riots. There is not one infection nor any prisoner or custodial or administrative staffer who has coronavirus.”

Image: Colombia Reports