Two prisoners were beheaded and another was thrown off a roof to his death, following a chaotic riot that rocked a Southern Brazil jail last Sunday. The inmates were reportedly rioting to fight for improved prison conditions.
Reports have stated that over 80 percent of the facility was taken over by the rioting prisoners, and at least two prison officials were taken hostage. The riot is said to have begun around breakfast, following the capture of a prison guard by inmates. The inmates then began to run rampant around the prison, setting fire to objects and using metal poles to cause severe damage to the prison. The riot escalated to a standoff that took place on the roof of the Brazilian prison, upon which two hostages were taken at knife-point. Negotiations to talk the prisoners down failed, and the two hostages were beheaded by their captors. A recent report from a lawyer of the prison guards union stated that one of the decapitated man’s heads was placed onto the lap of a custodian that was initially taken hostage and then sent to freedom later on. A third man died after the inmates pushed him from the roof, off which he fell to his death. Those captured had no way to escape, which was ensured by ropes around their necks or ties behind their hands. The captors could not be identified, as they had covered their faces with a white fabric in order to shield their identities from prison authorities.
The inmates were reportedly extremely discontent with the Brazil facility’s living standards. They did not feel the food was adequate, and that the living quarters were unclean and unsuitable. There were also issues concerning overcrowding, as the facility holds over 1000 inmates and only contains 928 beds. Despite the riot and the deaths that occurred, prison officials at the Brazil facility have given a statement that says negotiations for better conditions are still underway at this time.
During the aforementioned roof standoff, the masked captors waved banners that were emblazoned with the letters PCC, making reference to a notorious Brazilian prison gang formed in the 1990s. PCC stands for Primeiro Comando da Capital, or First Capital Command, and was inspired by the 1970’s prison protect group Comando Vermelho (Red Command). They began solely as a prisoner’s welfare group, fighting to protect the rights of those incarcerated. However, the PCC has quickly become one of Brazil’s most notorious groups, famous for the bloody wars they engage in with authorities. It is reported they have members in two-thirds of the country’s states. The PCC also controls drug trafficking between Brazil, Bolivia, and Paraguay. In October of last year, the group threatened to wage war on the FIFA 2014 World Cup, saying they would turn it into a World Cup of Terror. They were reportedly aware of the security issues facing the government concerning the thousands of tourists who would come to see the event, and were more than ready to take advantage of the situation.
The names of those who died in the Brazil prison riot have not yet been released. However, the incident has not put a stop to the efforts of authorities to rectify the reasons for why the riot initially started.
by Rebecca Grace