200 inmates arrested after prison break in Ecuador

Ecuadorian police have arrested 200 of the 220 inmates who escaped from an overcrowded prison in Santo Domingo de los Tsachilas province during a riot earlier this week that left 44 prisoners dead, the Interior Ministry said.

Following the riot at the Bellavista prison on Monday, which also left 10 inmates injured, authorities captured a first group of 112 inmates outside the prison early Tuesday, Xinhua news agency quoted the Ministry as saying.

Officials blamed the riot on rival criminal rings vying for control of the facility and transferred six ring leaders to the La Roca maximum-security prison and the Litoral Penitentiary, both located in the southwestern city of Guayaquil.

Bellavista was built to house 1,200 inmates, but there are 1,700 prisoners currently.

Recently, more than 100 inmates were transferred here from another prison, where a riot in April left 20 inmates dead.

“There is an excessive entry of people into prisons” and “more than 60 per cent” have been tried but “not yet sentenced”, making it hard to manage prison populations, the director of the National Comprehensive Care Service for Adults Deprived of Liberty and Adolescent Offenders, Pablo Ramirez, told local media on Tuesday.

Monday’s prison riot was the second this year in Ecuador, where the prison crisis worsened in 2021, when four violent clashes left some 300 prisoners dead.




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