Press briefing notes on Brazil: Carandiru case

23 de April, 2013

Spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights: Cécile Pouilly

Location: Geneva
Date: 23 April 2013

1) Brazil

On 21 April, a state tribunal in Sao Paulo, Brazil convicted by jury 23 military police officers to long prison sentences for their responsibility in the death of 13 inmates during the repression of a prison riot in Carandiru on 2 October 1992. A total of 111 inmates lost their lives during the suppression of the riot. Investigations revealed that many prisoners were shot at close range.

Prior to this conviction, the only person to have faced trial for the killings in Carandiru is the commander of the operation, Colonel Ubiratan Guimaraes, who in 2001 was convicted for excessive use of force, but acquitted on appeal in 2006. Some 53 military police officers are expected to stand trial in the coming months in connection with the deaths of the other detainees in Carandiru.

We commend the Brazilian authorities, after more than two decades of impunity for one of the most brutal incidents of violence in a prison, for bringing justice for some of the victims of Carandiru and will follow closely the on-going trials regarding the other alleged perpetrators.

We also encourage the Brazilian authorities to urgently address the dire situation in prisons in which nearly half a million people are detained.

In response to questions:

On Brazil:

The 23 military police officers were sentenced to 156 years in jail each. No high-ranking officials were convicted in the context of this trial. The 23 officers were members of the ROTA (Ronda Ostensible Tobias de Aguiar) elite group of the military police of Sao Paulo.

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