RAPPORTEURSHIP ON PERSONS DEPRIVED OF LIBERTY IN THE AMERICAS CALLS FOR INVESTIGATION INTO DEATHS IN ARGENTINE PRISON
Washington, D.C., November 6, 2007 — The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights’ (IACHR) Rapporteurship on the Rights of Persons Deprived of Liberty in the Americas expresses its concern about information it has received regarding the deaths of inmates in a prison in Santiago del Estero, Argentina, and calls on the State to investigate the incidents.
According to the information received, on the afternoon of Sunday, November 4, a riot began in the Men’s Prison in Santiago del Estero, which at that time held more than 400 persons deprived of liberty. Press reports indicate that the incidents left 34 persons dead and several others seriously injured. According to preliminary forensic reports quoted in the media, the deaths were caused by asphyxiation, serious burns and the inhalation of toxic gases from burning mattresses.
Under international law, the State is the guarantor of the rights of persons who are in its custody. Thus the Inter-American Commission urges the Argentine State to take the necessary measures to guarantee the life and personal integrity of persons deprived of liberty within its prison system. The State should also ensure that such acts of violence and loss of human life do not happen again in the future, and to that end, it is essential that it carry out appropriate administrative and judicial investigations.
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