Day after shocking images are releasedFriday, June 20, 2014
San Luis detainee photos lead to resignation of prison chief
The governor of San Luis province Claudio Poggi yesterday asked for the resignation of provincial Penitentiary System director Inocencio Carpio after photos were leaked on Wednesday showing youths at a juvenile detention facility in the province being subjected to a humiliating strip search.
The photos, published by local news website SanLuis24.com.ar, were quick to generate a backlash yesterday, with the Provincial Memory Committee (CPM) human rights organization releasing a strongly-worded statement that echoed the criticisms on Wednesday from the Centre for Legal and Social Studies (CELS).
“The scandal and indignation generated by these photos showing detained citizens as they are humiliatingly searched in San Luis province does not shed light on anything new: it’s just more evidence of what governments already know from frequent reports and complaints,” it charged.
Taken on April 22 last year, the images showed a group of youths completely naked, kneeling with their heads on the floor, surrounded by guards and dogs.
The decision yesterday by the province’s governor was confirmed by the News Agency San Luis, which reported Carpio’s replacement as head of the prison system will be made known in the coming days.
On Wednesday, Carpio had acknowleged the prison practice demonstrated in the photos, saying they “need to be corrected.” He alleged the officers in the photos had been at odds with new policies.
“My head hangs in shame,” Carpio told local reporters. “I hope it won’t happen again. I don’t deny what happened.”
Human rights groups outraged
Echoing CELS on Wednesday, CPM yesterday called for reform in the penitentiary system, denouncing the heavy-handed approach that has been suggested by some members of society as debate rolls on about a Penal Code reform bill, described by opposition politicians as too light on crime.
“The pressure for more security has translated into public policy of greater lock-ups and worse conditions,” it continued.
“The intervention of distinct authorities in the national and provincial governments is urgent in order to stop the torture being carried out by security forces and penitentiary officials.”
Most of the victims are “poor youths,” the CPM said.
For its part, San Luis’ Human Rights Commision said the photos proved that “such aberrant practices committed against defenceless people subjected to cruel and inhuman treatment are yet to be eliminated.”
Herald with online media