Skulls found in Argentine jail oven

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The Independent Online
DAVID HASKEL

Reuter

Buenos Aires - Remains of skulls and other human bones have been found in the bread oven at a maximum-security jail, where seven inmates disappeared during a revolt last week.

"Several bones have been found among the oven's ashes, including femur heads and parts of skulls," a court official said. "We have not been able to determine yet how many victims there were or to whom the bones belonged."

On Monday, the Buenos Aires province Governor, Eduardo Duhalde said prisoners killed other inmates and cremated their bodies during the week-long revolt by 1,000 inmates at Sierra Chica prison. The revolt sparked riots among 5,000 inmates of other jails, which ended on Sunday.

The prisoner's rebellion held the Argentine public and the government of President, Carlos Menem in thrall for several days.

Investigators said teeth were found in the prison's bakery oven. Mr Duhalde's comments appeared to confirm reports quoting inmates' relatives last week as saying 17 Sierra Chica prisoners were killed in fighting and their bodies incinerated in the prison bakery. It was not clear how the relatives knew this and authorities have confirmed only the death of a 51-year- old inmate from stab wounds.

Twenty-seven hostages, including a woman judge, were freed unharmed on Sunday as the prisoners surrendered after their leaders received guarantees there would be no reprisals for the crisis.

There were conflicting reports on the concessions made to the prisoners, who revolted on 30 March. Mr Duhalde said no concessions were made beyond promising quick and widespread application of a law deducting two years from sentences for every year served awaiting trial.

But newspapers said the inmates were promised a prison commission with inmate representatives would be set up and that softer sentences for car theft would be applied.

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