PRESS RELEASE

No. 10/10

IACHR EXPRESSES CONCERN OVER VIOLENT DEATHS IN VENEZUELAN PRISON

Washington, D.C., January 30, 2010 — The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) deeply regrets the violent deaths of several inmates at the "La Planta" Re-Education and Work Prison, also known as "El Paraíso," in Caracas. The Commission urgently calls on the State to adopt any measures that may be necessary to ensure that similar acts are not repeated.

According to information reported by official sources and various media outlets, in the morning hours of Wednesday, January 27, 2010, violence broke out in Cellblocks 2 and 3 of the prison, leaving eight inmates dead and seventeen wounded. According to the authorities, the incident was caused by disputes among those deprived of liberty.

The IACHR expresses its concern about the events that have occurred and its solidarity with the relatives of the prisoners who died and those who were injured. It also reiterates that State human rights obligations include the obligation to adopt all measures necessary to guarantee the life and humane treatment of persons deprived of liberty.

For this reason, the IACHR urgently calls on the Venezuelan authorities to adopt appropriate measures to prevent outbreaks of violence in prisons. The Inter-American Commission has been following the prison situation in Venezuela for several years through different mechanisms, including contentious cases and various provisional measures it has requested of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights.

 A principal, autonomous body of the Organization of American States (OAS), the IACHR derives its mandate from the OAS Charter and the American Convention on Human Rights. The Commission is composed of seven independent members who act in a personal capacity, without representing a particular country, and who are elected by the OAS General Assembly.

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Press contact: Santiago A. Canton - Tel. (202) 458-3694 - E-mail: jmendoza@oas.org

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