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Last Updated: Wednesday, 18 February, 2004, 22:04 GMT
Ecuador prison hostages released
Baby Heidi Carolina being held by a  Red Cross paramedic
Several children were among the first to be freed
More than 300 people have been released from a prison in Ecuador where inmates had held them hostage since Sunday.

A spokesman for the prisoners said they had agreed to release the hostages after the Interior Minister, Raul Baca, promised to meet some of their demands.

The inmates are demanding an end to overcrowding and the release of prisoners who have been held beyond the legal limit allowed without a trial.

Mr Baca, announced the government would build three new jails.

Last month, the government declared a state of emergency in the prison system and vowed to ease overcrowding by building new facilities.

In addition to the news jails, which will house 800 inmates, Mr Barca said that more than 1,000 inmates who have been held for over a year without being sentenced would now be released.




SEE ALSO:
Fifteen hostages freed in Ecuador
18 Feb 04  |  Americas
Ecuador prisoners take hostages
17 Feb 04  |  Americas
Country profile: Ecuador
26 Nov 03  |  Country profiles
Timeline: Ecuador
02 Jan 04  |  Country profiles


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