Venezuelan jail inmates release 200 visitors taken hostage

July 1st, 2008 - 1:25 pm ICT by IANS  

Caracas, July 1 (IANS) Inmates of a Venezuelan prison who had taken some 200 visitors hostage to protest poor amenities have released the captives, EFE reported Tuesday. The government Monday announced the release of the people following “successful negotiation with the disgruntled prisoners”, and said it was “awaiting their arrival”

The agitating prisoners of the Los Andes prison, 700 km west of the capital city prevented June 22 more than 200 visitors to the jail from leaving at the end of visiting hours to press their demand for speedy trials and better treatment by the guards, among other things.

Deputy minister Tarek El Aissami told the state-run Venezolana de Television, that the government had promised to “improve the condition in the jail” and take measures to expedite court trials.

The prisoners, many of whom were being held in the facility pending trial, had demanded that authorities speed up those proceedings, along with ensuring better treatment of inmates by the guards.

The Los Andes protest followed the agitation at southern Venezuela’s Vista Hermosa prison where more than 300 people visiting their relatives decided to remain inside the facility to force authorities to expedite the cases of the under trials at the jail.

Overcrowding, poor living condition and bad sanitation are some of the major problems in Venezuelan jails.

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