From Ray.Mitchell@amnesty.org.uk Wed Mar 1 10:58:23 2000
Date: Tue, 29 Feb 2000 12:02:18 -0600 (CST)
Subject: AI: Paraguay bulletin
Two teenaged inmates at a juvenile detention centre in the Paraguayan capital, Asuncion, have reportedly been tortured and ill-treated by prison guards. Amnesty International fears for their safety and well-being, and that of other detainees at the centre.
Guards at the Correccional de Menores
Panchito Lopez juvenile detention centre, reportedly left
Francisco Carballo Figueredo upside down handcuffed to a column for
three hours in the early morning of 25 February 2000. Witnesses who
saw him afterwards said his back was severely bruised from a beating,
and that he was traumatised.
At the same time Ruben Dario Alcaraz was reportedly hung up by his wrists. He was also kicked with steel toe-capped boots.
There have been two serious fires at
Panchito Lopez in the past
month, in which seven inmates have died and more than 20 have suffered
serious burns. Since the fires there has reportedly been an increase
in ill-treatment of inmates by prison guards.
Amnesty International has expressed repeated concern to the Paraguayan
authorities about the grossly inadequate conditions at
Lopez, where minors, 90% of whom are in pretrial detention and
have not been sentenced, are held in severely overcrowded, insanitary
cells with few washing facilities, little exercise or fresh air, with
insufficient food and lack of proper medical care. International
organizations including the United Nations Committee on the Rights of
the Child and the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR)
have expressed similar concerns.
Amnesty International delegates conveyed these concerns personally to
the Vice-Minister of Justice, Dr Fernando Canilla Veras, during a
visit to Paraguay in October 1999. The Vice-Minister acknowledged that
the detention centre's present site was wholly inadequate. He repeated
an assurance he has given several times, that measures were being
taken to improve conditions and that arrangements were almost complete
for the imminent transfer of the inmates to a new, purpose-built,
juvenile detention centre in Luque. The IACHR received similar
assurances, being told that
Panchito Lopez would be relocated
to the site in Luque by the end of 1999.