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Decapitated bodies found in mass grave at Venezuelan prison

By Andrew V. Pestano
Decapitated bodies found in mass grave at Venezuelan prison
At least 14 bodies have been found in a mass grave at the General Penitentiary of Venezuela in the San Juan de Los Morros municipality of Guárico state, Venezuela's Public Ministry said on Tuesday. Photo courtesy of Venezuelan Observatory of Prisons

March 14 (UPI) -- Venezuela announced that 14 bodies have been found in a mass grave inside of the country's largest prison.

The mass grave was first discovered on Thursday during work to refurbish the General Penitentiary of Venezuela, or PGV, in the San Juan de Los Morros municipality of Guárico state. The Public Ministry on Tuesday said special scientific units are at the prison to excavate, recover and identify the bodies along with anthropologists and anatomical pathology experts.

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"As a result of these actions, up to the moment 14 corpses have been recovered, of which nine have their skulls," the Public Ministry said in a statement. "It is noteworthy that dental, anthropology and genetic experiments are being carried out and complaints are being received from relatives about disappearances during the process of eviction from the PGV."

In a statement, the Venezuelan Observatory of Prisons, or OVP, said it previously warned the government about the possibility of mass graves at all of Venezuela's prisons. The non-governmental organization called on Venezuelan Minister of Penitentiary Affairs Iris Varela to explain why she did not act after multiple reports of disappearances at PGV.

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OVP officials said they expect more human remains will be found.

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"Some media and human rights organizations were warned of the possibility of mass graves in several prisons in the country," OVP said in a statement on Monday. "Today the country is touched by the mass grave found in the PGV, but we must not forget that there are weekly murders of prisoners in prisons, as well as in police checkpoints."

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