Brazilian justice

2 October 1992 – the day of the massacre of 111 prisoners at the Carandiru Prison in Brazil, which was demolished in 2002.

That day, dozens of the São Paulo Military Police Department stormed the São Paulo prison and brutally repressed a riot. 102 prisoners were shot dead by the police, the other nine by fellow convicts.

74 of the police were convicted of murder.

Colonel Ubiratan Guimarães, the officer in charge of the operation, was initially sentenced to 632 years in prison. But his conviction was quashed in 2006 when an appeal court accepted his argument that he was only following orders. 

And now the São Paulo State Court has annulled the trial of those remaining police officers who were in the dock.

One of the judges, Ivan Sartori, said the event “wasn’t a massacre, but self-defence”, despite the fact that many of the dead were shot in the back of the head or neck.

On the day, the authorities ended negotiations with the prisoners after less than an hour. The military police were then ordered to storm the prison.

It was all over in less than half an hour. Each of the dead inmates were shot an average of five times. The surviving inmates were ordered to pile up the bodies on the prison’s first floor.

No police officer died.

According to the judges who dismissed the trial, it is illegal to convict the 74 agents involved in the raid, since there was no analysis performed on the ballistics, meaning it’s impossible to determine which officer killed which inmate.

Guimarães, who was also a member of the São Paulo state legislature, was assassinated in September 2006.


Picture source: Marcos Cunha via Wikimedia Commons