From Wed Mar 1 10:58:23 2000
Date: Tue, 29 Feb 2000 12:02:18 -0600 (CST)
Subject: AI: Paraguay bulletin
Article: 90131
To: undisclosed-recipients:;

Francisco Carballo Figueredo (15), Ruben Dario Alacaraz (17) and other detainees at the ‘Panchito Lopez ’ juvenile detention centre

Amnesty International Urgent Action Bulletin, AI Index: AMR 45/01/00, 28 February 2000

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, 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 Panchito 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.