The ex-soldier who is a murder convict allegedly built a multimillion-dollar illicit prison empire based on threats and corruption.

Thirteen including ex-army officer killed in Guatemala prison riot
news Crime Tuesday, July 19, 2016 - 11:07

The ex-soldier allegedly built a multimillion-dollar illicit prison empire based on threats and corruption.

Ex-army officer Byron Lima who was serving a prison sentence for the 1998 murder of a Roman Catholic bishop has died in a jail riot in Guatemala. Another 11 inmates and a female visitor were also killed in the incident.

Convicted murderer Byron Lima was among the 13 people killed on Monday after a riot broke out at Pavon prison, close to the capital, Guatemala City.

The ex-soldier was sentenced in 2001 to 30 years in prison for killing Roman Catholic Bishop Juan Gerardi almost two decades ago. Lima's sentence was later reduced to 20 years.

Gerardi was bludgeoned to death with a concrete block at his seminary on April 26, 1998, two days after he presented a report blaming the military for most of the 200,000 deaths in Guatemala's 1960-1996 conflict.

Rival prison gangs

Interior Minister Francisco Rivas said Monday's riot involved a fight between Lima's inmate group and a rival gang headed by Marvin Montiel, who was sentenced in 2008 to 820 years in prison for the murder of 15 Nicaraguans and a Dutch tourist.

Four of the dead had been decapitated, Rivas said. An Argentine woman who regularly visited Lima in prison was also among the dead.

Jail empire

Lima had been considered the most powerful inmate in Guatemala's prison system. He was also facing additional charges for his activities behind bars.

Prosecutors allege that Lima built a multimillion-dollar illicit prison empire based on threats and corruption. They said Lima took money from other inmates in return for favors such as access to prohibited cell phones and appliances, as well as special food and conjugal visits.

(The article was first published on DW. You can read the original article here.)

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