Ecuador reports 43 individuals missing from prison News
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Ecuador reports 43 individuals missing from prison

Ecuador reported Monday that a recent operation at Esmeraldas No. 2 Detention Center revealed the escape of 48 individuals, with one fatality and five recaptures, prompting an investigation by the National Service for Comprehensive Attention to Adults Deprived of Liberty and Adolescent Offenders (SNAI).

SNAI issued an official announcement regarding an operation at the Esmeraldas No. 2 Detention Center (CPL) on January 14, 2024. During a search operation involving 1,000 members of the National Police and 1,000 members of the Armed Forces, it was discovered that 48 people deprived of liberty (PPL), terminology used for prisoners, had escaped. It further informed that security protocols were activated, leading to the successful recapture of five individuals.

However, reportedly, one prisoner lost their life during the intervention at the Esmeraldas No. 2 Detention Center. The SNAI has initiated coordination with the relevant authorities to investigate and determine the causes of this tragic event. The announcement added, “The SNAI ratifies its commitment to security, rehabilitation, and respect for human rights in the National Penitentiary System.”

President of Ecuador Daniel Noboa congratulated the National Police and said, “We are taking control of the country’s prisons[.] Congratulations to the Armed Forces and the National Police. We continue working to restore peace for all Ecuadorians.”

SNAI is an Ecuadorean organization dedicated to providing comprehensive care and rehabilitation services for adults and adolescents in conflict with criminal law to facilitate their positive reintegration into society.

Earlier, Ecuador’s President Daniel Noboa declared a 60-day state of emergency in response to the escape of Adolfo Macías, leader of the powerful Los Choneros gang. Macías, serving a 34-year sentence for drug trafficking and organized crime, vanished from prison on January 7, triggering riots in six correctional facilities. The emergency decree, signed by President Noboa, imposes a night curfew from 11 PM to 5 AM, suspends the right of assembly and grants the army the authority to control internal security, especially in prisons. Exemptions to the curfew include health services, public security forces and essential emergency workers. President Noboa, in his first emergency as president, vowed not to negotiate with terrorists and called for public support.

The Law to Confront the Armed Conflict, presented by President Noboa to enhance anti-crime measures and bolster security, has been approved and assigned to the committee led by Valentina Centeno, president of the Commission for Economic, Productive and Microenterprise Development. The proposed legislation aims to reduce violence in Ecuador through stricter laws and increased security measures.