Prosecutor Calls Twelve To Trial For Jan 2011 Youth Prison Fire and Deaths
Thursday, May 10 2012 @ 09:14 AM EDT
Contributed by: Don Winner
The nine police officers who are defendants in this process are: Deputy Police Commissioner (rank) Luis Ortega, Lieutenant Ernesto Blake, Joel Rodríguez, Maikol González, Eduardo Enrique Barreno, Ángel Batista, Luz María Padilla, Eduardo Valdés and Darío Caballero. In addition, the three defendants are the former director of the prison Nedelka Cedeño, and two prison guards, Guillermo Ábrego and Alexander De Gracia.
In response to this decision, the plaintiff's attorney Carlos Herrera Delegado hopes the court will open criminal proceedings against all of those involved in this, and establish a date for a hearing. The police officers are being held in a police barracks awaiting trial, while the other three all have different forms of preventative measures other than detention. (Panama America)
Editor's Comment: On Sunday, 9 January 2011, youth offenders (teenagers) who were being held at a juvenile prison in Tocumen started a riot over a lack of clean drinking water. The National Police were called in to put down the riot and to regain control of the facility. At one point they threw tear gas canisters through the window of a locked cell from the outside. This apparently started a fire in the cell, and several of the young men in that cell were badly burned. All of them survived that day, but eventually five of them later died in the hospital as a result of the burns they received. These twelve people are going to be held accountable for their actions that day.