Paraguay’s president has sacked his justice minister after it emerged that the body of a slain rebel had been taken into a women’s prison so his jailed sister could bid him farewell.
The move caused outrage among relatives of the victims of the rebel group.
The dead rebel, Osvaldo Villalba, and his sister Carmen were top members of the Paraguayan People’s Army (EPP).
The group has killed and kidnapped dozens of people. Osvaldo Villalba, 39, was killed by soldiers on Sunday.
He had become the leader of the small but violent guerrilla group after its commanders, including his older sister Carmen, were jailed.
On Tuesday, relatives carried his coffin - with the body inside - to the entrance of the Good Shepherd prison, where Carmen Villalba is serving a long sentence for the attempted murder of three police officers during a foiled jailbreak in 2004.
At first, Minister of Justice Édgar Taboada turned the group away, saying he had been “surprised” by the arrival of the coffin.
He said that there had been instances in the past in which inmates had been allowed to attend the funerals of loved ones but that a request had to be made in advance and security needed to be arranged.
After being turned away, the funeral cortege proceeded to a nearby cemetery but after only a few minutes, it returned to the prison and this time, the coffin was allowed in with an escort of dozens of riot police.