Some 1,400 inmates on hunger strike in Chilean prison

Dec 17

Santiago – At least 1,400 inmates in a Chilean prison were on a hunger strike Friday to protest overcrowded conditions at the facility.

Hugo Gutierrez, a member of congress from the Communist party, put the number of hunger strikers at the penitentiary in Santiago at 2,500.

‘It is unbelievable that some 7,000 people are sitting in a prison built for 800 people that was then expanded to 1,200 inmates. It’s inhumane,’ said Gutierrez, head of the congress’ human rights committee.

The country’s prisons have drawn frequent criticism for overcrowding with more than 70 per cent operating over capacity.

Last week 81 inmates were killed in a fire at the San Miguel prison, while at least 46 were injured in a separate mutiny. President Sebastian Pinera has called for the building of new prisons in the face of poor conditions.

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