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Lawsuit:Canadian prison officials abused inmates, forced them to fight

Oct. 7, 2013 at 11:03 AM

EDMONTON, Alberta, Oct. 7 (UPI) -- Five inmates at a maximum security prison in Canada allege in a lawsuit they were abused by guards and force to fight each other, once with a fatal result.

The lawsuit charges an inmate died after guards knowingly sent him and a member of a rival gang to shower at the same time, the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. reported Monday.

Prison guards, officials and the Canadian government are named as defendants in the lawsuit, which charges all the incidents occurred within the past three years at the Edmonton Institution.

The inmates allege they were beaten, abused and treated in a degrading manner on the orders of the warden, Kelly Hartle, and other officials at the prison.

One of the inmates, James Wigmore, said he was ordered on several occasions to beat up other inmates. He said he was told if he refused he would be assaulted and his personal possessions destroyed.

The lawsuit alleges inmates who complained about their treatment were threatened with retaliation by the staff.

"Essentially, it's guards acting as thugs," said Tom Engel, an Edmonton attorney representing the inmates.

A spokesman for Correctional Service of Canada declined to comment on the lawsuit.

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