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In Venezuela, prisoners stage hunger strikes in at least 16 centers

In Venezuela, prisoners stage hunger strikes in at least 16 centers
epa11403017 The exterior of the Maracaibo National Prison, better known as Sabaneta Prison, in Maracaibo, Venezuela, 10 June 2024. The prisoners of at least 16 prisons in Venezuela maintain a hunger strike that they began on 09 June in protest mainly against procedural delays, said the Venezuelan Prison Observatory (OVP), a non-governmental organization that defends human rights. EPA-EFE/Henry Chirinos

CARACAS, June 11 (Reuters) - Inmates in at least 16 Venezuelan prisons are staging hunger strikes to protest against incarceration conditions and delays in reviews of their judicial processes, two non-governmental organizations (NGOs) said in social media posts on Tuesday.

Overcrowding, poor health conditions and food scarcity are among the issues plaguing Venezuelan prisons, with the Venezuelan Prisons Observatory reporting on social media platform X the death of an inmate earlier on Tuesday, due to lack of humanitarian aid for his “delicate” health status.

Peaceful protests have been registered in several penitentiaries since Sunday.

Human rights organizations Venezuelan Prisons Observatory and Una Ventana para la Libertad (A window for freedom) released videos on their social media accounts showing inmates voicing their demands from prisons. Reuters could not independently confirm the origin of the videos.

Venezuela’s communication and information ministry did not immediately reply to a request for comment.

President Nicolas Maduro on Tuesday replaced the country’s head of the penitentiary affairs appointing Julio Zerpa in the midst of the strikes.

(Reporting by Mayela Armas and Deisy Buitrago; Writing by Stéphanie Hamel and Valentine Hilaire; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)

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