Caracas (AFP) – Venezuelan authorities said they have found the decomposing remains of seven people inside the country’s biggest prison, five months after violent clashes among inmates forced its closure.
“We received reports… that bones were found, human remains, and we immediately activated” an investigation at the prison at San Juan de Los Morros, Iris Varela, the minister for penitentiary affairs, told a news conference.
The remains were “in an advanced stage of decomposition,” she said.
But later on Twitter, citing new forensic evidence, she revised the toll upward to seven.
There also had been complaints that inmates had died because of inadequate food and medicine.
The General Penitentiary of Venezuela, as the prison is officially called, had an estimated 9,000 inmates before the closure, according to the non-governmental group A Window on Freedom.
The group says that despite the government’s program of upgrades, Venezuela’s prisons are inmate-controlled schools for crime with swimming pools, pizza parlors and discotheques.