Italy. March 9, 2020. The prisons are in revolt. As of this morning, there are 27 prisons where protests are taking place by inmates, some of whom are calling for amnesty because of the Coronavirus emergency. Eight prisoners died according to the new official report released after the riots of recent days: six of whom died in Modena prison during the prisoners’ revolt yesterday afternoon. For three of these yesterday, institutional sources claim that one of them died from opiate substance abuse, the other from benzodiazepines, while the third was found cyanotic, but the reason for this is unknown. For the other three there is no news, while a total of 18 prisoners have been hospitalized, mostly for intoxication. Two other deaths from a psychotropic drug overdose are recorded in the prisons of Verona and Alessandria during the night. The two had been the ringleaders of the protests and, according to the official report spread by the prison authorities, they had stolen psychotropic drugs from the infirmary.
In the meantime, an uprising is taking place in Foggia prison, where some inmates allegedly able to escape, but were captured a short time later outside the prison by the police. According to the reports, the prisoners have torn down a gate of the ‘block house’, the area that separates them from the street. Some inmates climbed onto the roof, others broke windows, and a fire was lit at the entrance to the block house. In clashes with the police a prisoner received head injuries and was taken away on a stretcher. In San Vittore in Milan, there were rooftop protests and fires inside the prison, while in Palermo an attempt to escape from Ucciardone prison was thwarted by the prison police. The streets around the prison are closed. Last night a protest also erupted at Pagliarelli, the second prison in Palermo. In Rebibbia in Rome, in addition to burning several mattresses – some prisoners allegedly attacked the infirmaries.
In Pavia last night prisoners blockaded two prison officers for a few hours, stole the keys to the cells from the officers and staged a strong protest by destroying several of the prison premises. From many quarters, the request for amnesty is coming or at least alternative measures for crime judged to be less serious, but the government is ignoring the calls.
In Iran, 70,000 prisoners have been released with temporary permits to try to counter the spread of the Covid-19 epidemic. Last week it had already announced that 54,000 prisoners had been transferred to house arrest.
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