MEXICO CITY – The death toll from disturbances at a prison in northern Mexico has climbed to 17 after an inmate perished following surgery, the government of Nuevo Leon state said on Thursday.
Twenty-six other people, including three guards and two police officers, were injured during Tuesday’s uprising at the Cadereyta penitentiary outside Monterrey, the state capital.
During the riot, the prisoners took guards captive and started fires by burning mattresses.
The National Human Rights Commission (CNDH), Mexico’s equivalent of an ombud’s office, released a statement Thursday calling for the urgent re-establishment of order in Nuevo Leon’s prisons with full respect for human rights.
The CNDH said it was “expressing its concern over authorities’ lack of an adequate response to problems that have been reported at penitentiaries” in that state “and which are reflected in recurrent violent actions such as those that occurred at Cadereyta.”
Dozens of people protested on Wednesday outside the prison to demand information about relatives held inside, angrily denouncing the authorities and engaging in a tense standoff with police guarding the facility.
Most of the prisoners who died were awaiting trial for “high-impact offenses,” the state Attorney General’s Office said on Wednesday, using a term that usually refers to kidnapping and violent drug-related crimes.
Prosecutors are eyeing possible charges against 54 inmates for their alleged involvement in the latest outburst of violence at Cadereyta, where four people died six months ago in an earlier riot.
Nuevo Leon security spokesman Aldo Fasci said the dead inmates had sustained different types of injuries and that an autopsy would determine whether they were shot and killed or suffered fatal wounds from another type of weapon.
The disturbances began early Tuesday and were brought under control a few hours later, but they flared again after sunset when inmates began burning mattresses and trash.