Justice Ministry seeks better security following assassination of prison director

Peru’s vice-minister of justice said on Monday that his ministry will seek additional funding to provide better security for workers in the country’s penal system following the assassination of a prison director over the weekend.

“Some require this personal security,” Vice-Minister of Justice Gerard Castro told Radio Programas Peru. “It is through the Interior Ministry that we’ll find a solution because they provide an important number of officers from the National Police, who provide security to the directors of maximum security prisons.”

Castro added that the Justice Ministry will send an additional request to the Ministry of the Economy for funding to provide employees of Peru’s National Penitentiary Institute, or INPE, life insurance because of their high risk work.

The announcement follows the assassination of Manuel Vásquez, the director of Peru’s maximum security Castro Castro prison, who was shot three times early Saturday morning outside his home in Lima’s El Agustino district. Police said he he was about to pull out of driveway when was shot three times in the head as  with a handgun fitted with a silencer.

The National Police’s Counter Terrorism Division had been investigating death threats against Vásquez from a variety of sources, daily El Comercio reported two weeks before his assassination. Vásquez reportedly sent two requests to the head of the INPE for private security, however both requests were denied.

Vásquez had received threats by dismantling ideological schools ran by imprisoned Maoist Shining Path insurgents, as well as by removing privileges, including private televisions and refrigerators, from prisoners involved in drug trafficking and other organized crime.

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