Imprisoned Suriname convicted criminals armed with AK-47 – dWT

(de Ware Tijd) PARAMARIBO – A prison official has shown de Ware Tijd a photo of a convict posing with a weapon, an AK-47. The picture was allegedly taken on the premises of the Santo Boma State Penitentiary at the time of the most recent prison guard strike in September of last year when other armed forces were in charge of keeping order in penitentiaries. Prison guard union chairman Gustaaf Gallant confirms this incident, pointing out that it is just one example of things that went wrong during that time. Gallant claims more of such pictures exist, including some of prisoners calling on cell phones. At the time of the strike, prisoners allegedly wrote to head of Prisoner Care Edward Belfort about the “good times” they were having then, adding that they were able to do things normally prohibited. Both the union chairman and the paper’s informer admit that much goes wrong when prison guards are in charge, but “these things don’t happen then, and certainly not with weapons”. As the penitentiary was guarded by army personnel with AK-47s, the union has contacted Defense Minister Lamuré Latour to inform him of these incidents. Gallant says the Minister of Justice and Police too knows of the photos, but adds he has not noticed any investigation. Last Saturday, a 25-year-old prison guard was arrested carrying hash, marihuana and alcohol when he reported for duty at the Santo Boma state penitentiary. He has been detained pending the investigation. The police’s PR department reports that 1,324 grams of marijuana and 30 grams of hash have been found on prisoners between January 2011 and today.



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