LA PAZ – Two Bolivian prison directors have been dismissed in the wake of a scandal involving a Peruvian female inmate, who told the media that guards had tortured her by handcuffing her to the bed of her cell for 45 days.
The national director of prisons, Wilson Soria, told a press conference Thursday that he had fired the head of the prison system in La Paz province, Elaquias Valeriano, and the director of the La Paz women’s prison, Col. Basilia Meneses.
The press reported this week that Peruvian national Mildreda Espinoza was isolated and handcuffed to her bed beginning June 6 after being accused of attempting to flee the La Paz women’s prison, known as the Female Orientation Center.
The law states that an inmate can be isolated for up to 60 days, but does not allow a prisoner to be handcuffed or subjected to other “humiliations,” Soria said.
The official said he issued an order requiring that all prison guards take a course on respect for human rights and on a new bill against torture that Congress is preparing.
Soria added that he will seek some $50 million in international assistance for needed reforms at the country’s prisons, where 8,788 inmates are housed in overcrowded conditions, 78 percent of whom have not been convicted.
The prison official also called on judges to speed up criminal proceedings to reduce the number of people being held in pre-trial detention. EFE