- Title: HONDURAS: Protesters demand justice one year after deadly prison fire in Honduras
- Date: 14th February 2013
- Summary: MORE OF INMATES INSIDE PRISON VARIOUS OF MEMORIAL FOR VICTIMS OF FIRE GENERAL VIEW OF CEMETERY (SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) MOTHER OF ONE OF THE VICTIMS, CATALINA ROMERO, SAYING: "One knows one is going to die, but that death. Not even animals choose to die like that and they (authorities) haven't resolved anything and they have the same people working there. One can't trust the law now." ROMERO AND FAMILY LAYING DOWN FLOWERS ON SON'S GRAVE
- Embargoed: 1st March 2013 12:00
- Location: Honduras
- Country: Honduras
- Topics: Crime,Politics
- Reuters ID: LVAC7Z0KXFITJRXGQ3V5E7DDSQMR
- Aspect Ratio:
- Story Text: Demonstrators holding banners and chanting slogans protest one year after a deadly fire killed 360 inmates at the Comayagua National Penitentiary in Honduras.
Dozens of protesters gathered outside the Honduran Presidential Palace in the capital city of Tegucigalpa on Thursday (February 14) to demand justice for the victims of a jailhouse fire that killed 360 inmates a year ago.
Survivors of the fire that tore through Comayagua National Penitentiary accused guards of leaving prisoners to die trapped inside their cells and shooting at others when they tried to escape.
Victims' relatives, survivors and experts have said in the past that massive overcrowding, guards' negligence and a failed justice system were to blame for the disaster, which killed many inmates who had not even been convicted of a crime.
Protesters held photos of their deceased loved ones while others held up banners demanding justice for their loved ones. Others simply cried from the impotence they felt.
"We demand justice and to know the truth, we demand a report of what happened, one we can believe in," said Gloria Redondo, the Coordinator of the Committee of Relatives of Victims of the Comayagua fire.
The exact cause of the fire is not yet known. Authorities said the fire broke out in block six during a fight over a mattress between two inmates, one of whom set it on fire. But some victims' relatives said the government had been grossly negligent or had even planned the blaze.
Some of the 852 prisoners at the overcrowded jail managed to force their way to safety through the tin roofs of the complex, a dark, maze-like structure with narrow open-air hallways lined with white and blue brick walls. However, 360 of the prisoners never found their way out.
Inmate Ever Hernandez said prisoners are always alert.
"We don't sleep properly, we are always alert in case of an emergency because it was not an accident but criminals were responsible and they killed our colleagues."
The mother of one of the victims, Catalina Romero, said authorities had failed to come up with any conclusions.
"One knows one is going to die, but that death. Not even animals choose to die like that and they (authorities) haven't resolved anything and they have the same people working there. One can't trust the law now."
Condemnation of the prison authorities spread as far as the local fire brigade chief, who said they had stopped his crews from entering the burning prison for half an hour.
A year ago, groups of police and soldiers dragged out the charred remains of inmates in black body bags and hurled them onto a pile outside.
- Copyright Holder: REUTERS
- Copyright Notice: (c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2013. Open For Restrictions - http://about.reuters.com/fulllegal.asp
- Usage Terms/Restrictions: None