Prison fire kills 17 in Venezuela

Venezuela's crowded prisons are among Latin America's deadliest (AFP Photo/Bertrand Parres) (AFP/File)

Caracas (AFP) - A fire at a prison in northern Venezuela has killed 17 people and injured another 11, prosecutors said Monday.

The fire at the Tocuyito facility in Carabobo state overnight left nine men and eight women dead, the prosecutor's office said.

No cause of the fire was given pending a probe led by three investigators.

The injured were being treated at a hospital in Valencia, the state capital.

A National Penitentiaries Ministry source told AFP the blaze was located in unit 1J, and apparently caused by a short circuit.

Venezuela's crowded prisons are among Latin America's deadliest. Government plans to improve conditions have not been met, rights groups say.

Many prisoners awaiting trials see years go by before they ever see a judge.

The Venezuelan Prisons Monitor, a non-governmental group, says that in 2014, 309 inmates -- many never convicted of anything -- were killed. Another 179 were injured in prisons that it says are at 170 percent capacity.