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Another prison riot in Honduras; week of violence leaves three dead

August 14, 1997

TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras (AP) _ Two inmates were killed Thursday during a riot at a Honduras prison, the latest in a week of violence in prisons across the country.

The prisoners are protesting what they say are poor conditions in the prisons _ most built more than 100 years ago _ and long waits for sentencing. Many claim they have already served enough time while awaiting trial.

The latest melee occurred Thursday at the prison in Santa Rosa de Copan, 150 miles west of the capital, Tegucigalpa. Few details were available, but prison spokeswoman Miriam Castellanos said two prisoners were killed.

The riot was the seventh since Monday, when all 700 prisoners at two facilities burned the prison buildings and escaped. Most escapees have been recaptured. One prisoner was killed in the riot. On Wednesday, inmates at four prisons staged riots.

The impoverished country’s 24 prisons hold 10,000 inmates _ nearly 90 percent of whom are either on trial or awaiting trial. Food and medical care are poor, facilities are old and supervision is often weak.

In the violence Wednesday, about 200 prisoners tried to flee Tela prison, 150 miles north of the capital, but none was successful. Two prisoners and the warden were slightly injured by broken glass.

Three hundred prisoners armed with broken bottles rioted at a prison in Danli, 35 miles east of the capital. Seven inmates were injured, said local police Col. Dagoberto Cruz Santos.

And 450 inmates at the prison in Juticalpa, 120 miles east of the capital, threatened to kill fellow inmates, according to Juticalpa Mayor Hector Mendez. But no inmates escaped.

Some 400 inmates set fire to Santa Rosa de Copan and tried to escape Wednesday. The fire was put out, but rioting continued Thursday.

Interior Minister Hernan Moncada Silva appointed two commissions to look into the incidents.

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