Prisoners Riot in Luxembourg Jail After Ban on Visitors

Stephanie Bodoni

(Bloomberg) --

Luxembourg’s main prison erupted in violence overnight after about 25 inmates rioted to demand better conditions as the nation seeks to contain the spread of Covid-19 in its jails.

The disturbance at the correctional facility of Schrassig, located to the east of Luxembourg City, comes after authorities imposed strict confinement measures and a ban on visitors.

Inmates taking part in the “violent” incident overnight were demanding early release as well as protective kit such as masks and gloves, the Ministry of Justice said in a statement on Thursday.

Early release “is envisaged only in case of an over-population” in prisons, the ministry said. “Given Luxembourg isn’t in such a situation, there’s at the moment no need” for such a step, it added.

While Luxembourg prisons haven’t yet confirmed any deaths from the illness, the government has put in place an emergency plan for its penitentiaries, also curbing meetings with lawyers.

Other European countries have also been dealing with restrictions on prison life imposed because of the outbreak.

Earlier this month in Italy, at least six people died in rioting as inmates staged violent protests in 27 prisons over their treatment during the outbreak.

Last week, French judges and lawyers warned that the country should “drastically” cut prisoner numbers in its overcrowded jails to prevent the Covid-19 virus from taking hold and to avoid riots.

(Updates with ministry statement from fourth paragraph)

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