The Latest: Rights groups demand probe into Venezuela deaths

The Latest: Rights groups demand probe into Venezuela deaths
The Associated Press

VALENCIA, Venezuela (AP) — The latest on a riot and fire inside police station in Venezuela (all times local):

7:45 a.m.

Human rights leaders in Venezuela are demanding a thorough investigation into a riot and fire that left 68 people dead at a police station jail.

The Venezuelan Prisons Observatory says it has been warning for some time about deteriorating conditions in the nation’s jails.

According to the group, many prisoners are facing severe hunger as Venezuela’s economy rapidly declines and being kept in overcrowded cells. Many are also being held for months at police station jails where they should only be detained for a maximum of two or three days.

Officials say four prosecutors have been named to determine what happened at the jail Wednesday in Valencia.

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12:50 a.m.

Venezuela’s chief prosecutor says 68 people died during a fire that erupted in a police station Wednesday after a riot involving prisoners.

Venezuelan Attorney General Tarek William Saab says on his official Twitter account that four prosecutors have been named to determine what happened in Valencia, a town about 100 miles from Caracas.

Local officials had earlier confirmed only that there had been fatalities. They said they were working to determine the exact number and declined to provide any estimates “out of respect for the families.”

Distraught relatives clamoring for information about detained loved ones clashed with police outside the station during the day. Officers used tear gas to disperse the crowd.

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