Guatemalan Convicts Free 19 Hostages

From Times Wire Services

Inmates holding more than 600 hostages--most of them women and children--in the second day of a prison siege began negotiating their demands Monday with the government’s human rights ombudsman.

Later, the inmates released 19 of their 646 hostages.

At least 10 people were killed and 60 wounded Sunday in the takeover of El Pavon prison outside the capital, a prison official said.

The hostages are mostly family members who were on Easter visits to the prison. According to some reports, many relatives of inmates stayed voluntarily.


Prison spokesman Conrado Monroy said human rights ombudsman Gonzalo Menendez de la Riva is hearing the prisoners’ demands.

The prisoner are demanding amnesty or a reduction in their sentences, the replacement of prison officials and improved prison conditions. The government has rejected the amnesty demand.