22 convicted in Honduras prison massacre

June 5th, 2008 - 6:03 pm ICT by IANS  

Tegucigalpa (Honduras) June 5 (IANS) A Honduras court has convicted 22 security officials for their alleged involvement in a jail massacre, which killed 68 people, Spain’s EFE news agency reported Thursday. The massacre took place at the El Porvenir prison farm in the eastern part of the country in April 2003 following a clash among inmates.

Among the 34 accused, 20 were police officers, who were joined in the dock by a soldier, a retired cop, prison guards and inmates.

The court acquitted 12 accused for want of evidence.

According to the excerpts of the verdict released by the court, the sentences range from six years to 37 years in prison. The full text will be released later.

Honduras’ top prosecutor for human rights, Sandra Ponce, told reporters Wednesday that the “historic” verdict shows that justice “is advancing so that there will be no impunity”.

Meanwhile, the defence attorneys of some policemen who were acquitted expressed satisfaction with the verdict.

According to reports, the massacre took place after an inmate shot dead one of his compatriots in charge of enforcing discipline among the prisoners.

Of the 68 people killed, three were visitors.

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