JUDICIAL AFFAIRS

Prison fire case begins

Temas:

A hearing began today involving the 12 people facing charges related to a fatal fire at the Tocumen juvenile detention center in January 2009.

Those charged include police officers and guards. The hearing was supposed to begin at 8 a.m., but was delayed until 10 a.m. due to two defendants failing to arrive on time.

The trial is being held before judges María De Lourdes Estrada, Secundino Mendieta and Adolfo Mejía.

Prosecutor Geomara Guerra de Jones said that the evidence is clear that the people charged prevented the Panama Fire Department from quickly putting out the fire and failed to evacuate those killed and injured. Furthermore, one of the inmates was beaten by police after being burned, the prosecutor said.

The fire was started by a tear gas canister that was fired by guards during a disturbance.

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