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Rioting overtakes Argentine prison
BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (AP) Hundreds of security forces surrounded an Argentine prison Friday in a tense standoff with 2,000 inmates who overpowered guards, taking about two dozen of them hostage, including the warden. At least eight people were killed.


Inmates hold a guard hostage Thursday in the Cordoba province of Argentina. Police and national guardsmen were brought in to restore order at the prison.
La Nacion via AP
The uprising at the San Martin maximum-security penitentiary in the province of Cordoba in central Argentina began Thursday during visiting hours and spread rapidly through several pavilions of the drab compound.

The prisoners took about 25 hostages, including guards and the warden. The dead included at least five inmates, two guards and one police officer, authorities said.

At least nine security officers were wounded by gunfire and 15 suffered minor injuries, police told the local news agency Diarios y Noticias.

Local reports said inmates' relatives, including women and children, were trapped inside when the riot began. But 13 people five guards, five women and three children were reported released Friday as negotiations progressed, according to news accounts.

President Nestor Kirchner deployed national guardsmen to the scene, about 450 miles northwest of Buenos Aires.

The violence began over demands for more visitation rights and improved living conditions, local reports said.

Cordoba's governor, Jose Manuel de la Sota, said he would not allow "delinquents and criminals" to dictate terms of a final surrender as he pressed for a peaceful conclusion.

News video showed inmates late Thursday on the prison's roof, wielding homemade knives while holding hostages, including one man in a bloodied shirt. Shots rang out intermittently as the rioters threw rocks at police sheltering behind plastic shields and threatened to push a captive guard off the rooftop.

Authorities said inmates, in overpowering the guards, had gotten hold of their weapons and taken other arms from a storage area.

Gustavo Vidal Lascano, attorney general of Cordoba province, confirmed that the warden was among the hostages and said three inmates were killed while trying to escape.

Eight die in Argentine prison riot
February 12, 2005

BUENOS AIRES -- Rioting inmates at an Argentine prison freed all their hostages yesterday, ending a daylong siege that left eight people dead.

Prisoners at the facility in Cordoba, Argentina's second-biggest city, turned violent during family visiting hours Thursday afternoon, with inmates demanding an end to overcrowding and other changes.

After an overnight standoff with security forces, inmates began gradually releasing some 70 hostages until all were freed.

Police said about half of the hostages were family members and the rest were prison officials, including the warden.

''There are no rebels at this time, all of them have ended their protest. The hostages have been released and we have recovered the weapons," said Jorge Rodriguez, head of the Cordoba provincial police, on local television.

Earlier, authorities said five prisoners and three guards were killed. Some 30 people were reported injured.

The uprising was at the San Martin maximum-security penitentiary, which houses about 2,000 inmates, authorities said.

Local reports said inmates' relatives were trapped inside when the riot began.

President Nestor Kirchner deployed national guardsmen to the scene, about 450 miles northwest of Buenos Aires.

Argentines watched the drama unfold on television. Broadcasts showed inmates on the roof nicking a half-naked prison guard with a knife until his T-shirt was covered with blood. The guard was later seen walking out of the prison escorted by police.

Shots rang out intermittently as the rioters threw rocks at police sheltering behind plastic shields and threatened to push a captive guard off the rooftop. Prisoners with their faces covered shoved another guard to the ground.

The Cordoba city governor, Luis Juez, said the facility was old and falling apart and that prisoners lived in ''subhuman" conditions.

Authorities said inmates, in overpowering the guards, had gotten hold of their weapons and taken other arms from a storage area.

Gustavo Vidal Lascano, attorney general of Cordoba Province, said three inmates were killed while trying to escape.

There have been 263 prison riots in Argentina since 1986, but they have become less frequent since 2000, a private study found.

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All information is Copyright 1997 - 2006 'Foreign Prisoner Support Service' unless stated otherwise - Click here for the legal stuff