Inmates seize prison unit in Alabama 11 guards taken hostage by Cuban prisoners.

August 22, 1991|By New York Times

TALLADEGA, Ala. -- Cuban inmates have seized control of a medium-security section of a federal prison and taken 11 hostages. Several of the Cubans were to be deported today.

Prison officials said 121 Cuban inmates took over the unit yesterdaymorning. A guard who was taken hostage received a minor neck injury in the takeover and was released later in the day.

A prison spokesman, Ed Crosley, said last night that the inmates had not made any specific demands but had requested that food be brought to them from outside the prison. Sandwiches and cold cuts were then brought in, he said.

Crosley said the inmates had homemade weapons, mostly knives, and had demanded that prison officials leave telephone lines open.

"We kept the phone lines open," he said, "because the inmates have threatened the hostages' lives if we don't."

Gary LeShaw, a Legal Aid Society lawyer from Atlanta who has long represented many of the Cubans who have been detained in American prisons after the Mariel boatlift in 1980, said he had spoken by telephone with some men involved in the takeover. He said they wanted the scheduled deportation of 34 detainees today canceled.

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