By Alexandra Sims | The Independent
A father has claimed his 25-year-old son was brutally murdered and eaten by inmates during a month-long riot at a Venezuelan prison.
Juan Carlos Herrara told local media his son, Juan Carlos Herrera Jr, was stabbed, hanged, dismembered and then eaten at the Táchira Detention Center.
Mr Herrara’s son was jailed in 2015 for robbery and had become caught up in the prison mutiny, which reportedly began on 8 September when eight visitors and two guards were taken hostage over extreme overcrowding in the jail, the Telegraph reports.
According to reports, 350 men had been crammed into the detention centre, which has a capacity of 120.
Speaking to reporters on Monday, after a visit to the prison three days after the mutiny had subsided, Mr Herrara said: “One of those who was with him when he was murdered saw everything that happened.
“My son and two others were taken by 40 people, stabbed, hanged to bleed, and then Dorancel butchered them to feed all detainees,” referring to the notorious Dorancel “people-eater” Vargas – jailed in 1999 for cannibalism.
“The [inmate] with whom I spoke to told me that he was beaten with a hammer [in order] to force him to eat the remains of the two boys.
“I beg you to give me at least one bone so we can bury him and relieve some of this pain.”
An anonymous police source confirmed to Fox News Latino that two inmates were missing following the riots.
“They cut them up and fed them to several [of the fellow inmates], they made the bones disappear. Dorancel cut the flesh.”
It remains unclear why Mr Herrara referred to three people in reports.
The Minster of Correctional Affairs, Iris Varela, confirmed the two disappearances but denied the allegations of cannibalism.
Humberto Prado, coordinator of the Venezuelan Prison Observatory (OVP), said the observatory will ask the Attorney’s General Office to investigate the incident and submit the case the United Nations Human Rights Commission.
He added: “Prisoners have been dismembered before and some inmates have forced other prisoners eat their [own] fingers. That happened in a detention center in El Tigre.”
Venezuela, recently a flagship socialist nation rich on oil reserves, is in the depths of a severe economic crisis with shortages of basic goods and food and rising crime.
The collapse in the price of oil has exposed years of economic mismanagement by the government.
Recent reports have described citizens abandoning their pets in the street, faced with the choice of feeding the animals or themselves, babies being kept in cardboard boxes in cash-strapped hospitals and Venezuelans crossing the border to Colombia to find food.
Large protests continue to take place against the government of President Maduro, who was apparently captured on video being chased by a group of angry protesters banging pots.