Wednesday, September 22

The Prosecutor’s Office raises the number of deaths in the Guayaquil riot to five

A prisoner in a jail in Ecuador.

A prisoner in a jail in Ecuador.

The Ecuadorian Prosecutor’s Office raised the death toll to five registered this Wednesday in a riot in prison number 1 of Guayaquil, an event that once again highlights the vulnerability of the prison system in the Andean country.

When announcing the “ex officio” opening of an investigation into the events that occurred in the so-called Litoral Penitentiary, the Prosecutor’s Office mentions in a Twitter message “five inmates” dead, and not four as had been initially reported. “The mutiny registered today also left 12 wounded, 300 ballistic evidence, revolvers and knives seized, “he reported in his message. The National Service for Comprehensive Attention to Adults Deprived of Liberty (SNAI) had previously reported the death of four inmates and twelve wounded.

The events took place in Guayas Number 1 prison from early in the morning, although in the early afternoon the security forces took control of the situation. “After a coordinated effort between the Ecuadorian Police and the SNAI, we have controlled the situation in the Guayaquil Penitentiary,” said the Minister of Government, Gabriel Martínez. “We are not going to allow the violent acts of February in prisons to be repeated,” he added. He was referring to almost 80 dead that were registered in four Ecuadorian prisons at the end of February in a chain of riots that exposed the lack of control within the prisons, the possession of weapons and acts of corruption.

After these tragic events, which included the prison where the riots were also recorded today, the SNAI reinforced security and surveillance in all prisons, although the weaknesses of the system remain in force, including overcrowding and the possession of weapons by the inmates. Today’s is the first case since February, although executions and riots inside prisons are frequent in the Andean country.

In its statement, the SNAI assured that “control and activities are carried out normally in the other centers of deprivation of liberty in the country” and that “37 people are under investigation.”

The February riots were attributed by the authorities to a clash between gangs competing for the crime and drug market, one of them, the so-called “Choneros”. Precisely this Wednesday, Harrison Salcedo, the lawyer of the former leader of that gang, José Luis Zambrano, alias “Rasquiña”, was shot dead in a central street in Quito. At the moment there seems to be no relationship between the events, beyond a temporal coincidence. Salcedo was shot while driving on República Street in the Ecuadorian capital, and died at the scene.

The lawyer had also represented the former vice president of the country Jorge Glas (2013-2017) in two corruption cases, including the famous case “Bribes 2012-2016”, for which former President Rafael Correa has also been convicted of bribery.

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