Venezuela Transfers Inmates Following Prison Revolt

Security forces are seen at the entrance of El Helicoide, the headquarters of the Bolivarian National Intelligence Service (SEBIN), in Caracas, on May 17, 2018, where Venezuelan opponents and a US citizen have seized control of the detention centre. - The Venezuelan opponents and a US Mormon missionary, who took …

Authorities in Venezuela have transferred at least 72 people following an inmate revolt at the Helicoide prison facility in Caracas.

The regime’s Attorney General, Tarek William Saab, announced on Twitter Thursday that the inmates would receive medical check-ups before being transferred to other facilities.

“Following a meeting yesterday of an inter-institutional working table between the public ministry and the penitentiary system, and with the support of the Supreme Court, the transfer of 72 inmates to several previously located prisons has been finalized,” he wrote.

“The public ministry can inform you that the inmates subject to transfer are being seen by medical professionals in the presence of prosecutors for their due arrival to new facilities that will be finalized in the coming hours,” he continued.

The removal came a day after inmates began revolting against prison authorities whom they accuse of torture and human rights violations. Images posted online from inside the prison appeared to show inmates freely congregating in hallways outside of their cells while filming videos explaining their dire living conditions.

Many prominent political figures persecuted by the regime are understood to be involved with the protests, including the former mayor of western San Cristóbal Daniel Ceballos, student opposition leader Lorent Saleh, and General Ángel Vivas, a military figure imprisoned for ignoring orders from the former president Hugo Chávez.

Ceballos told CNN that authorities had lost control and that inmates were now in control of the facility.

“Inside the prison, all the prisoners are in control,” he said on Thursday. “And at that this moment, the people from the government who have approached us have not offered any solutions, none.”

Meanwhile, the State Department has expressed its concern for the safety of American citizen Joshua Holt, a former Mormon missionary from Utah who was detained in 2016 on phony weapons charges, who uploaded a video during the protests begging for assistance from the U.S. government.

“We continue to have serious concerns about the safety and welfare of U.S. citizens who are being held there,” said State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert. “The Venezuelan Government is responsible for the safety of all detainees in its prison system, including U.S. citizens in detention.”

“Last night, our chief of mission in Caracas, Todd Robinson, went in person to the ministry of foreign affairs and made repeated requests to the highest levels of the Venezuelan Government for information about the situation at that prison. Venezuelan authorities refused to meet with our chief of mission at that time,” she continued.

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