Prisoners end hunger strike in Venezuela after agreement with government


(Reuters) – Inmates in 20 jails and detention facilities in Venezuela have ended a week-long hunger strike to protest against conditions and delays in judicial reviews after reaching a deal with the government, a non-governmental organization said on Saturday.

“Between Thursday, June 13, and Friday, June 14, the inmates gradually desisted from the hunger strike, after an agreement with the ministry of penitentiary services,” the Venezuelan Prisons Observatory said, saying cases of some detainees had begun to be transferred to different courts in the country.

“They have granted some pending releases, and began to install technical tables in some prisons to review the cases of the detainees”, the NGO added on its website.

President Nicolas Maduro earlier replaced the country’s head of the penitentiary affairs, Celsa Bautista, and appointed legislator Julio Zerpa, in the middle of the strike.

“We keep working, centre to centre, together with the families, listening to the demands of the population deprived of liberty, committed to a humanist penitentiary system adapted to the new times,” the new minister said earlier Saturday on social media platform X.

NGOs have criticized prisons in Venezuela for overcrowding, poor health conditions and food scarcity, in addition to procedural delays, among other issues.

(Reporting by Deisy Buitrago, Writing by Fabián Cambero and Aida Pelaez-Fernandez, editing by Deepa Babington)

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