Act in memoriam of 111 prisoners dead in the incident
|Date||2 October 1992|
The Carandiru massacre (Massacre do Carandiru, Portuguese pronunciation: [mɐˈsakɾi du kɐɾɐ̃dʒiˈɾu]) occurred on Friday, 2 October 1992, in Carandiru Penitentiary in São Paulo, Brazil, when military police stormed the penitentiary due to a prison riot. The massacre, which left 111 prisoners dead, is considered by many people to be a major human rights violation.
The massacre was caused by a prisoner revolt. Around 13:30, two groups got into a fight after a game of football; the fight quickly escalated into a prison riot that lasted three hours. Prisoners were reported attacking each other with knives and pipes. The conflict consisted of 2,069 prisoners against 15 guards, resulting in the guards quickly losing control of the prisoners. Around 14:15, the prison director, Dr José Ismael Pedrosa, informed the local military police Polícia Militar do Estado de São Paulo about the uprising. The military was given full command of the prison when arriving about 14:30. Though the director wanted to negotiate with the prisoners by a megaphone, he was held back by his staff since the police almost crushed him. The prisoners were stripped, locked in their cells and shot. Other prisoners were killed by police dogs. The police released their dogs in the barber shop, where the wounded prisoners were taken. The facility was a detention center, not a penitentiary, meaning that the inmates have not been tried or convicted.
By the end of the day, 111 prisoners were dead; and 37 more were injured. Ballistic evidence implicated that 515 bullets were found in the prisoners. Furthermore, gunshot wounds were mainly found in the face, head, throat and chest. Hands among the dead were found in front of the face or behind the head suggesting defensive positions. Police were also reported killing witnesses, wounded prisoners, and even those forced to remove bodies. No policemen were injured. All in all, research suggests that many prisoners were defenseless and intentionally extrajudicially executed.
The country was in major shock from the massacre. The case was brought before the inter-American Commission by The Center for Justice and International Law (CEJIL), the Teotônio Vilela Commission for Human Rights, and Human Rights Watch, and in 2000, eight years after the massacre, they condemned Brazil for it. In 2013, hundreds of people attended a multi-faith vigil in São Paulo in memoriam of those killed in the massacre. Relatives of those killed and human rights activists have both demanded and appealed for justice. The vigil and pleas for justice led to several trials for the officers involved in the massacre that same year. The commanding officer of the operation, Colonel Ubiratan Guimarães, was initially sentenced to 632 years in prison for his mishandling of the rebellion and the subsequent massacre. He was in charge of the special police unit ROTA that is known for having an aggressive approach to civil disturbance. On 16 February 2006, a Brazilian court voided Guimarães' conviction because of mistrial claims; the court accepted his argument that he was only "following orders." Guimarães, who was also a member of the São Paulo state legislature, was assassinated in September 2006. Although not entirely certain, his death appears to be the result of his role in the massacre. Another direct result of the riot and the handling of the riot was the unification of prisoners. One of Brazil's most notorious gangs the Primeiro Comando da Capital (PCC) is said to have formed in 1993 as a response to the event. The surviving gang members joined forces with other prisoners to provide protection against the police. The group is believed to be responsible for the death of José Ismael Pedrosa, the director of the prison at the time. After years of national and international pressure, the prison was demolished on 8 December 2002, the former complex has been transformed into a park. The massacre also gained international attention. An example of this is the New York Times, which published one article captioned "111 Killed When Police Storm Brazilian Prison During Inmate Riot" the same year as the massacre. The massacre also received attention from BBC with several articles in the last several years dealing with the vigils and the trials. The massacre has also sparked ongoing discussions, both in Brazil and internationally about Brazil's prison system. In 2017, the New York Times published an article captioned "Brazil’s Deadly Prison System." Human rights groups such as the Human Rights Watch have also documented statistics of police violence and acquittals in Brazil.
In April 2013, 23 policemen involved in the massacre were sentenced to 156 years in prison each for the killing of 13 inmates. In August 2013, another 25 policemen involved in the massacre were sentenced to 624 years each for the deaths of 52 inmates. In April 2014, 15 additional policemen were sentenced to 48 years. Although the UN urged Brazil to bring justice to those most affected by the slaughter in September 2016, the court declared the trial on Carandiru massacre null. The court judged that the massacre was an act of self-defense and that there was a lack of evidence to link the individual officers to the individual killings. Consequently, the prosecutor is initiating an appeal and the process remains ongoing. None of the officers convicted have served their sentences. Since the massacre, Brazil's federal government has passed new legislation to reform the prison system, all of which has yet to be enforced.
In popular culture
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- This event was documented in the book Estação Carandiru by Dráuzio Varella and inspired the 2003 film Carandiru.
- The massacre is the subject of the song "Manifest" on the Chaos A.D. album by Brazilian thrash metal band Sepultura.
- It inspired the song "Haiti" by Caetano Veloso with Gilberto Gil, protesting racial discrimination and social inequality, on their 1993 album Tropicália 2.
- It is mentioned by the group Racionais in their song "Diario de um Detento", and also in the song "19 Rebellions" by the British group Asian Dub Foundation.
- This massacre inspired the US television Prison Break's season 3's main setting.
- In the movie Elite Squad: The Enemy Within, the incident was referenced when denying BOPE's colonel's request to allow prison inmates access to the enemy faction's prison block.
- Brooke, James (4 October 1992). "111 Killed When Police Storm Brazilian Prison During Inmate Riot". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 30 January 2018.
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- WorldCourts (2000).Carandiru v. Brazil,http://www.worldcourts.com/iacmhr/eng/decisions/2000.04.13_Carandiru_v_Brazil.pdf. Retrieved 23 January.
- Anne Manuel (1998). Behind bars in Brazil. Human Rights Watch. p. 111. ISBN 978-1-56432-195-4.
- "Amnesty International". www.amnesty.org/en/documents/amr19/008/1993/en/. 1993. Retrieved 23 January 2018.
- "The stories and horrors in Brazil's penal system". 14 May 2004 – via LA Times.
- Brooke, James. “111 Killed When Police Storm Brazilian Prison During Inmate Riot.” The New York Times. October 04, 1992. Accessed March 29, 2018.
- "Outrage: 24 Years Later, Carandiru Prison Massacre of 111 is Called Self Defense". 30 September 2016. Retrieved 13 August 2019.
- "Brazil vigil marks jail massacre". 3 October 2012. Retrieved 13 August 2019.
- Reuters (21 April 2013). "Police officers get 156 years for 1992 Brazilian prison massacre". Retrieved 29 January 2018.
- Willis, G. D. (2002). The Killing Consensus: Homicide Detectives, Police that Kill and Organized Crime in Sio Paulo, Brazil.
- Ribeiro, Gustavo (2016). "Carandiru Massacre's Defining Moment for Brazil - Fair Observer". www.fairobserver.com. Retrieved 29 January 2018.
- Phillips, Tom (11 September 2006). "Jail massacre colonel shot dead". the Guardian. Retrieved 30 January 2018.
- All Jazeera (2006). "Brazil prison massacre colonel killed". Retrieved 30 January 2018.
- Nunes Dias, Camila (8 June 2010). "Organized Crime in Brazilian Prisons: The Example of the PCC".
- Lessing, Benjamin (2016). "Brazil's prison massacres are a frightening window into gang warfare". Retrieved 30 January 2018.
- AAP (22 April 2013). "Brazil police jailed for prison 'massacre'". The Australian. Retrieved 19 April 2013.
- "Brazil prison riot trial adjourned". BBC News. 8 April 2013. Retrieved 30 January 2018.
- "Brazil police sentenced over Carandiru jail massacre". BBC News. 21 April 2013. Retrieved 24 April 2013.
- "Brazil Carandiru jail massacre police guilty". BBC News. 3 August 2013. Retrieved 3 August 2013.
- "15 police guilty in Brazil prison killings". eNCA. 3 April 2014. Retrieved 3 April 2014.
- "UNITED NATIONS HUMAN RIGHTS, Office of the High Commissioner South America". acnudh.org. Archived from the original on 29 July 2018. Retrieved 29 January 2018.
- "16 Brazil declares trial on Carandiru massacre null in shocking blow for justice". Amnesty International. 28 September 2016. Retrieved 6 October 2016.
- "Outrage: 24 Years Later, Carandiru Prison Massacre of 111 is Called Self Defense". Retrieved 29 January 2018.
- “Appeal Begins in Brazil against acquittal of 74 police.” BBC News. September 29, 2016. Accessed March 29, 2018. https://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-37502941.
- Muggah, Robert; Carvalho, Ilona Szabó De (4 January 2017). "Opinion | Brazil's Deadly Prison System". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 13 August 2019.
- Bourgoin, Suzanne (1994). Contemporary Musicians: Profiles of the People in Music. Gale. ISBN 9780810385535.
- Sharpe-Young, Garry (2007). Metal: The Definitive Guide: Heavy, NWOBH, Progressive, Thrash, Death, Black, Gothic, Doom, Nu. Jawbone Press. p. 421. ISBN 9781906002015.
- Anselmi, J. J. (12 April 2016). "Sepultura's 'Chaos A.D.' Is the Anti-Colonial Rallying Cry that Thrash has Always Needed". Vice. Retrieved 16 September 2016.