Over 20 killed in Venezuela prison fight

August 21st, 2012 - 4:29 am ICT by IANS  

Caracas, Aug 21 (IANS) More than 20 people have been killed in a prison riot between two inmate gangs near the Venezuelan capital, media reported.

The violence erupted Sunday night at the Yare I prison, south of Caracas, and one of the dead was an inmate’s relative or family member, Xinhua quoted Iris Varela, minister for penitentiary system (or, prison) telling a TV channel. She did not give any precise number of casualties.

The situation could be brought under control Monday, she added.

Prison overcrowding and riots have long been serious problems in Venezuela. According to the non-governmental organisation Venezuelan Prisons Observatory, Venezuela’s prisons, with a design capacity of 14,000, house more than 44,000 inmates.

In July 2011, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez nominated Varela as prison minister to address a prison crisis that has led to numerous violent revolts across the country.

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