5 police officials suspected in Venezuela jail fire detained - InfoNews

Current Conditions


5 police officials suspected in Venezuela jail fire detained

Jesus Zapata cries on the coffin containing the remains of his son Erickson Zapata, at the Municipal Cemetery in Valencia, Venezuela, Friday, March 30, 2018. Weeping relatives arrived at the central cemetery on Friday carrying the caskets of many of the 68 victims who were killed in the fire to place them in a freshly dug mass tomb. Cemetery workers said they were prepared to bury at least 32 people two days after the blaze in three-deep graves separated by a layer of cinderblock. (AP Photo/Ariana Cubillos)
March 31, 2018 - 7:50 PM

CARACAS, Venezuela - Five police officials are suspected of being responsible for a fire that killed 68 people in a police station jail in Venezuela and have been detained, the nation's chief prosecutor said Saturday.

Tarek William Saab wrote on Twitter that the officials are believed "responsible for the tragic events that caused the death of 68 citizens" but provided no further details.

Among the detained is Jose Luis Rodriguez, sub-director of the police station in Valencia where a fire tore through cells where about 200 prisoners were being kept.

Relatives and human rights advocates have been pressing the government to provide a full account of what happened at the police station jail on Wednesday morning. Some family members of those killed have said their loved ones called before the fire and said their jailers were pouring gasoline in the cellblock. Other accounts suggest it was the inmates themselves who started the blaze in an attempt to escape.

In his brief remarks on social media, Saab said the nation's Public Ministry would provide "an explanation of these tragic events and punishment to all those responsible."

The fire is one of the worst mass casualty events at a jail in Venezuela's history. As the nation plunges into one of the most severe economic contractions in modern Latin American history, prisoner rights advocates say the already dire conditions within jails and prisons have become even worse.

Overcrowded cells, judicial delays, and hunger have increasingly become the norm and corruption among officials turned jails into cellblock fiefdoms ruled by armed gangs.

Officials have not yet said how the fire started and what role the officers detained might have played.

Family members buried many of the dead in a freshly dug mass tomb on Friday.

News from © The Associated Press, 2018
The Associated Press

  • Popular kelowna News
  • Comments
  • Woman found dead in car in Kamloops
    KAMLOOPS - A woman has been found dead and two men have been taken to hospital after they were found in a car playing loud music early this morning. Kamloops RCMP spokesperson Cpl. Jodi Shel
  • Kamloops RCMP seek missing man
    KAMLOOPS - Police in Kamloops are asking for the public's help to find a missing man. James Harris, 53, has not been in contact with family or friends since late March and he was last se
  • Searching for a stranger: Dozens of people brought in by bus to look for Ryan Shtuka
    SUN PEAKS - It's been nearly 10 weeks since Ryan Shtuka went missing in the Sun Peaks area after leaving a house party on Burfield Drive, but volunteers are still showing up in droves hoping t
  • Kelowna RCMP investigating brutal downtown assault
    KELOWNA - A Kelowna man who witnessed a brutal assault by a group of young men on a lone male in downtown Kelowna on the weekend says he feels like he came close to seeing a murder in progress.
  • Broncos families surprised obituaries are on website selling services
    Some families of Humboldt Broncos bus crash victims are surprised to learn that error-riddled obituaries of their loved ones have been posted on a website that's selling flowers, as well as on
View Site in: Desktop | Mobile