Ecuadorian president extends state of emergency at prisons

QUITO: Ecuadorian President Lenin Moreno extended a state of emergency at the country’s prisons for another 30 days, citing “internal turmoil” at the facilities, the Presidency’s Communications General Secretariat (Secom) said on Monday.
The president signed the executive decree, which seeks to maintain order in prisons, on Saturday, according to a Secom statement.
Ecuadorian prisons have been under a state of emergency for 60 days, during which there have been outbreaks of violence.
According to the decree, the National Service for Attention to Persons Deprived of Liberty reported four violent deaths and two incidents of disorderly conduct from Aug. 11 to Oct. 5.
Authorities have carried out 52 raids, uncovering controled substances, weapons and other banned items at prisons throughout the country.
In the decree, Moreno called on state institutions, including the Armed Forces and National Service for Attention to Persons Deprived of Liberty, to coordinate efforts to maintain order in prisons.
The measure also aims to restore the normal functioning of the nation’s penitentiary system amid the health emergency sparked by COVID-19.
The decree suspends certain rights, including correspondence, and freedom of association and assembly.
Meanwhile, Ecuador’s largest hospital, the Eugenio Espejo Hospital in Quito, is preparing for a possible spike in novel coronavirus (COVID-19) patients in the wake of national holiday celebrations, the head of the intensive care unit (ICU), Manuel Jibaja, said on Monday.
“This morning we were on alert regarding what could happen, which is that the number of serious cases could increase and we would have to go back to doing what we were doing for a while.–Agencies