QUITO, Nov 23 (Reuters) – Ecuador's President Guillermo Lasso has pardoned prisoners jailed for minor traffic crimes and others suffering terminal illnesses to alleviate overcrowding in penitentiaries across the country, his press office said.
A wave of violence has beset Ecuador's prisons in recent months, leaving scores of prisoners dead as gangs fight for control of drug trafficking routes.
As well as violence, Ecuador's prisons are plagued by overcrowding of around 30% and poor living conditions for the system's 39,000 inmates.
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In a statement announcing the move late on Monday, the government did not specify how many prisoners will receive a pardon.
"This decision includes the total forgiveness of custodial sentences but does not extinguish the obligation of comprehensive reparations (to victims) that all those receiving pardons are responsible for," the statement added.
Ecuador is also preparing to send 170 Colombian prisoners back to their own country, following an agreement with Colombia's government over the weekend. read more
Register now for FREE unlimited access to reuters.comRegisterReporting by Alexandra Valencia
Writing by Oliver Griffin
Editing by Alistair Bell