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News > Ecuador

State of Exception Rules in Ecuadorian Prisons

  • Police and military enter the Litoral Penitentiary, Guayaquil, Ecuador, Sept. 30, 2021.

    Police and military enter the Litoral Penitentiary, Guayaquil, Ecuador, Sept. 30, 2021. | Photo: Twitter/ @goberguayasec

Published 30 September 2021
Opinion

In the event of new incidents of violence, the Police and the Armed Forces may intervene directly using force in a "reasonable and proportional manner," according to President Lasso's decree.

On Wednesday, President Guillermo Lasso declared a "State of Exception" in Ecuadorian prisons for 60 days, which allows soldiers and police to enter them to contain the war between criminal gangs.

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"It is regrettable that the prisons are being turned into a territory of power disputes between criminal gangs," Lasso said regarding the incidents that occurred in the Guayaquil Penitentiary, where 116 inmates have died and 80 prisoners have been injured since Tuesday.

He also swore that he will not cease in his eagerness to "regain control of the Litoral Penitentiary and prevent these events from being repeated in some other penitentiary center in Ecuador."

To achieve this objective, the Lasso administration will invest in infrastructures and technological surveillance systems so that prison authorities can have greater control of their facilities.

The National Service of Comprehensive Attention to Persons Deprived of Liberty and Adolescent Offenders (SNAI) will receive resources to make all the adjustments required inside the Guayaquil jail.

In the short term, the State of Exception orders SNAI, the Armed Forces, and the Police to coordinate actions aimed at restoring order and preventing violence within prisons.

In the event of new incidents of violence, the Police and the Armed Forces may intervene directly using force in a "reasonable and proportional manner," according to Lasso's decree, which also emphasizes that human rights must be respected.

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