May 2 (UPI) -- At least 40 people died and 75 others were injured Saturday in a riot at the Los Llanos Penitentiary in Venezuela, authorities said.
The prison's director, Carlos Toro, is one of those injured, according to the advocacy organization Venezuelan Prisons Observatory (OVP).
Venezuela's minister of penitentiary services, Iris Varela, confirmed the riot had taken place and told a newspaper the warden was injured with a knife.
Of the 75 wounded, 52 are in the hospital, the advocacy organization said.
Advocates and politicians offered differing accounts of how the riot started, with National Assembly representative for Portuguesa Maria Beatriz Martinez saying the riot began during an alleged escape attempt, and (OVP) calling that account "dubious."
Other accounts of the riot say prisoners were angry about a lack of food and water in the facility, exacerbated by new restrictions that prohibit family members from bringing food to those incarcerated.
"This is not the first time we have seen prisoners in Venezuela suffer terrible violations of their right to life," said Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas director at Amnesty International in a statement. "The grotesque images that are now being broadcast around the world should serve as a reminder that all those responsible for this atrocity must be brought to justice. The authorities' lethal response must be thoroughly investigated and analysed so that these international crimes do not go unpunished."
Advocates say that although the facility has space for 750 people, more than 2,500 inmates are currently imprisoned there.
The United Nations Human Rights office tweeted Saturday urging the government to conduct a thorough investigation, tackle overcrowding and guarantee basic rights in the prison.