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  • Inmates of Miguel de Castro Prison, Lima Peru. April 2020.

    Inmates of Miguel de Castro Prison, Lima Peru. April 2020. | Photo: Twitter/@RedRadioVe

Published 7 May 2020
Opinion

Villar took office on March 24, amidst the Covid-19 outbreak in the South American nation.

Peruvian President Martin Vizcarra received Gerson David Villar Sandy's resignation as president of the National Penitentiary Council (INPE). 

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Villar took office on March 24, amidst the Covid-19 outbreak in the South American nation. During his management, several inmate riots occurred resulting in 12 convict deaths. The protesters were demanding health care and sanitary security in prisons after two guards died due to the virus.

In a second inmate violent demonstration in Miguel Castro penal facility,  nine inmates died. Also, in Huancayo penal facility another riot occurred due to the virus outbreak among the inmate population. Besides, over 250 guards and prison workers tested COVID positive during Villar's time in office.

Several social organizations criticized the former president of the National Penitentiary Council because of his lack of strategic guidance in facing the virus and the lack of sanitary protection to both inmates and guards. The Peruvian Ombudsman Office requested the government in late April for inmates’ release to prevent more cases.

"COVID-19 is deepening the critical situation of prisons in Peru," warned Jan Jarab, Representative of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.


On May 4, nine inmates were released under humanitarian reasons in the context of the health emergency. Peruvian government also aims for mitigating overcrowding in prisons to restrain the spread of Covid-19. 

As local news media reported, Rafael Eduardo Castillo Alfaro took over the position on May 6 as Peruvian National Penitentiary Council president.  His office assumption occurs amidst the virus spreading in the South American nation, a famine exodus, and social discontent due to a lack of an effective governmental response to the virus.

So far, Peru registers 54,817 COVID positive cases, 1,533 deaths, and 17,527 recoveries.

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