Brazil’s Carandiru Massacre: 111 Dead, 13 years, No One Guilty

    Yet another injustice has been committed concerning the case of the Carandiru penitentiary massacre in São Paulo, Brazil. The slaughter occurred on October 2, 1992 when police entered Carandiru prison in order to squelch a riot.

    In doing so, the police shot and killed 111 prisoners, many at point blank range. Colonel Ubiratan Guimarães was in charge of the operation.

    In 2001, Guimarães was brought before the court and charged as being responsible for the deaths of the inmates. The jury found him guilty, and the judge gave him a 632-year prison term. He appealed the decision and was released on his own recognizance.

    The following year, the colonel won an election for state representative and was therefore automatically given the privilege of bringing his case before a special court of judges, and not of jurors.

    Last week, February 15th, this court found Guimarães not guilty of the charges. They said that the judge presiding at the original trial had misinterpreted the jury.

    At that trial, the jurors accepted the argument that the colonel was acting out of "strict compliance of legal duty", but that he had acted in an "excessive" manner. However, the judges said that if the jury accepted the former, then the latter is null.

    Therefore, the jury really had the intention of absolving the colonel of any wrongdoing, but the judge had badly interpreted the jury’s responses. The judges made this decision in spite of previous interviews of jury members who said that in fact they had wished to condemn the colonel.

    Human rights groups are outraged over the decision. One grave concern is that now the other 84 police officers involved in the massacre will not be held responsible, as they too were acting on "strict compliance of legal duty." Another concern is that the decision once again legitimizes police violence and guarantees impunity.

    Hundreds of people took to the streets to protest the decision, including Senator Eduardo Suplicy, a member of the Workers’ Party, who joined 110 other protestors as they lay down on the ground in front of the Justice Tribunal of São Paulo, symbolizing those slain in the massacre.

    Catholic bishop Pedro Luiz Stringhini also participated in the protest, and commented, "This decision is absurd. We fear that an uninformed public will not understand what a grave injustice this is. But we can not stand by quietly."

    The massacre at Carandiru has already been the subject of books, films, news shows, and of innumerable reports from Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, and others. According to the National Movement of Human Rights, the judges’ decision damages once again Brazil’s reputation in relation to human rights and the impunity in the country.

    "This appeal represents a small but important point of reference, through which the penal justice system of Brazil will be evaluated, in terms of its determination to guarantee equal and universal access to justice, and its desire to promote and protect the human rights of all Brazilians," commented Tim Cahill, researcher for Amnesty International.

    According to Amnesty International, no one is serving time for the massacre. Not one of the 84 police officers involved have been tried. The accusations against 29 other officers for having caused bodily harm have been dropped. Besides this, not one attempt has been made to determine the responsibility of the state governor or the Secretary of Public Security acting at the time.

    In addition, authorities of São Paulo and Brazil have not entirely implemented cautionary measures stipulated by In Inter-American Commission on Human Rights in relation to this case. These measures include reparations to relatives of the victims and the implementation of measures to guarantee the rights of prisoners.

    But, the story has not yet ended as the Public Ministry has announced that it intends to take the case to the Brazilian Supreme Court.

    The Carandiru Massacre

    On Friday October 02, 1992, José Ismael Pedrosa, director of the Casa de Detenção (State Prison) in São Paulo telephoned State Secretary of Security, Pedro Franco de Campos at 3.05 P.M. to inform him that a rebellion had broken out in Pavilion 9 of the prison.

    Just over an hour later, Campos gave the following order to the chief officer of the military police at the prison, Ubiratan Guimarães, "You are on the spot, make an evaluation and do what has to be done". Thus started what was to be the bloodiest massacre of all time in a Brazilian jail.

    Even though by 6.00 P.M. the State Governor, Antonio Fleury Filho, was informed that at least 90 prisoners had been killed, all official news bulletins during the next 24 hours spoke of the death of only 8 prisoners. According to police reporters, this distortion in the official news release was due to the fact that Saturday was election day in Brazil for mayors and councilors (vereadores).

    According to such sources the gravity of the news was not released so as not to take votes away from the State Governor’s candidate – Aloysio Nunes Ferreira, in the municipal elections. By Saturday evening, the number of prisoners killed was stated to be 111 whilst a number of police and other prisoners were said to have been injured.

    In the day following the massacre, human rights entities condemned loudly and clearly the massacre and those who were responsible for it.

    According to the National Movement of Human Rights (Movimento Nacional de Direitos Humanos – MNDH) the "crime (massacre) is a shame for Brazil and constitutes a genocide and collective crime which reminds us of the more sinister moments of Brazilian history".

    The note from the MNDH went on to state that life is of fundamental value to be preserved in all circumstances and that those responsible for the massacre should be identified and punished. The MNDH statement said that the massacre "shows in a clear manner how the death sentence outside of the legal system is executed in Brazil with the active participation and support of some authorities". The MNDH is the umbrella entity for Brazilian human rights groups.

    According to the Lawyer’s Association of São Paulo (OAB /SP), what really happened on Friday evening in the Casa de Detenção was not a rebellion since the only weapons which the prisoners had access to were knives and pieces of timber. According to the OAB what really took place was a premeditated slaughter in which the prisoners were summarily executed in their cells and in the corridors.

    The OAB made this statement after a visit of representatives of the organization to the prison. The OAB report stated that the prisoners had held no hostages and they had no escape plans made. It also stated  that in one of the cells, the bodies of 10 prisoners were found.

    The report went on to say "One of the prisoners told us that he saw a colleague being shot while he had his hands on his head and that others prisoners were shot whilst they carried the bodies of their dead colleagues".

    A protest statement of the Cardinal of São Paulo at the time, Dom Paulo Evaristo Arns, contained the following comment: "During the period of office of the present Secretary (the Secretary for Public Security, Pedro Franco de Campos) the most horrible things were perpetuated that I have seen in my 26 and a half years as bishop of Sao Paulo."

    A number of police officers present at the massacre and the prison director were temporally relieved of their duties by the State Governor, Antonio Fleury Filho, waiting for an inquiry to be carried out.

    Human rights organizations demanded that the governor dismissed the State Secretary of Public Security, Pedro Franco de Campos. Campos eventually resigned on Wednesday October 07.

    This material appeared originally at Adital (Agência de Informação Frei Tito para a América Latina – Friar Tito Information Agency for Latin America)

    Brazil Justice Net – www.braziljusticenet.org

    Tags:

    • Show Comments (9)

    • Guest

      Impunity for all?
      I came across this site while researching genocide in Brazil for a presentation, and I have to say that Ubiratan Guimarães should not have been granted impunity from his 632-year sentence in prison. His acts may have been justified (although I disagree), but murdering 111 people, being sentenced, and let off scot-free just doesn’t seem to do the trick, in my opinion.
      In the face of genocide, the Brazilian government has been known to look the other way when confronted with perpetrators of genocide, a practice that has cone on too long. Althought the Carandiru Massacre is not recognized as a genocide, it is incredibly necessary that its importance be recognized.

    • Guest

      I don’t care who you are or where you are from. You are entitled to your opinion,
      so i’m entitled to mine. Different viewpoint and angle as Brazil is a twilight world. I meant, not everything in Brazil is about sun, sea and sex . Pick sense out of nonsense?

    • Guest

      Re: It\’s not all about sun….
      I’m sorry but you are plainly off-key here. Of course it’s about sun, sea and sex. That’s how Brazil is popularly conceived of and promoted as a tourist destination of choice. Tourists don’t come here for high culture, you know. Just because a few go through the motions of being appalled by unenviable social conditions doesn’t mean they care, well not long term anyway. Ever felt sorry for a down-and-out? Of course you have. Ever done anything to substantialy change his/her life for the better? Of course not. As for food poisioning (or the common D&S), it was clear that I think you make far too much of it, not that it doesn’t exist.Lastly, human rights issues are a concern in Brazil, but some other countries are far, far worse, hence the mention of Africa as a comparison, which is openly abysmal and lawless at a fundermental level. Go and see for yourself. I have.Then tell me how shocked you are about Brazil. And like Brazil it’s very rich in resources and quite capable of addressing its corruption problems.
      However, just two further points to close, I am a British ex-pat who lives here and in answer to your rather childlike original question “Why would anyone who is not corrupt want to live in an undemocratic country such as Brazil, it is outrageous [?]. The reason is sun, sea, and sex, just like I implied in my post. Got it sport?

    • Guest

      ITS NOT ALL ABOUT SUN, SEA & SEX
      Firstly, not all tourists are shallow or superfical, some actually do care about what happens in the countries they visit and are appalled upton their return.

      Secondly, if you read some of the posts on this site, there is mention of food posioning so this should be addressed by the health & safety board to keep vendors on their toes. Prevention is better than a cure.

      Thirdly, the human rights issues are known worldwide and there are many people who are appalled by this even if people like you think it’s fine. That is your choice.

      Don’t bring Africa into this debate, this is not an African forum. I was talking about Brazil, a country rich in resources that is capable of addressing these issues effectively so no need to deviate. Africa will get its time!!!!

      I have to say,’he/she who does not offend cannot be honest’…..

    • Guest

      111 dead. And?
      So 111 drug dealers, murders, pimps, and assorted low-lives were killed. What of it, exactly? They were engaged in prison mutiny, and probably armed with improvised weapons. What on earth did they expect to happen? They surely didn’t expect the police to saunter in and sing songs with them. And I suspect the only evidence that was offered against the police, was the testemony of a bunch of inmates — not very reliable, is it?

    • Guest

      Re: Heartless Society
      Please grow up. Firstly, tourists are very unlikely to see the inside of a Brazilian prison, so why should they care what happens inside them. Secondly, tourists don’t give a Frenchman’s foreskin about the living or working conditions of the people in the countries they visit: they are there to have a good time and that’s all there is to it. Nothing wrong with that, in fact, it’s not their problem. As for your comment on the imagined, more than real, dangers of ‘food safety’, I’ve lived and worked in Brazil for ten years and so far haven’t suffered from any bouts of D&S. The last time I got a case of the quick-shits was back in London. Lastly, as for Brazil being lawless and run in an abysmal way, have you been to any African states lately? If you want to see abysmal and lawless, take a trip there.

    • Guest

      HEARTLESS SOCIETY
      This is an abomination. What kind of society is this? Why would anyone who is not corrupt want to live in an undemocratic country such as Brazil, it is outrageous.

      I have read only recently that the ministry of tourism is going to spend over $100,000,000 on promoting tourism to Brazil – but for what? What services are they going to provide for these tourists? Will they be protected and their safety guarenteed? How about health, hygiene and food safety? If anything untoward were to happen to these tourists, would they be compensated and within a reasonable time limit?

      It is clear Brazil wants to attract as much tourists to this country as possible but has it thought about the consequences of mass tourism and will it be able to cope with it efficiently?

      Tourist’s will not tolerate the sub standard treatment which is given to most Brazilians and neither should they, especially when spending their hard earned cash.

      If Brazil is run in the abysmal way which has been described, and anyone needs help from any of Brazils government bodies. Heaven help them if everything appears to be disguised, manipulated and hidden. Brazil is a fragmented lawless society and is worthy of condemnation.

    • Guest

      ANOTHER EXAMPLE……
      …FAR MORE THAN 111 HIGH LEVELS POLITICIANS CORRUPTED TO THE ROOTS !

      NO ONE GUILTY AND IN JAIL !

      …FAR MORE THAN 111 LARGE LANDOWNERS
      HAVING SLAVES ¨

      NO ONE GUILTY AND IN JAIL !

      ….FAR MORE THAN 111 KILLINGS OF INNOCENTS BY BRAZILIAN POLICE !!!

      NO ONE GUILTY AND IN JAIL !!!

      ….FAR MORE THAN 111 KILLINGS OF POORS WITHOUT LAND BY LARGE LANDOWNERS”!!!

      NO ONE GUILTY AND IN JAIL !!!!!!

      VIVA BRAZIL !!!!!!! THE GREATEST UNDEMOCRATIC COUNTRY, WITH THE GREATEST INJUSTICE…..ON THIS PLANET !!!!

      A SHAME TO HUMANITY, WITH A TOTAL LACK OF RESPECT TO THEIR OWN SOCIETY !

      IN BRAZIL EVERYTHING CAN BE BOUGHT WITH MONEY, SUCH AS IMPUNITY, KILLINGS AND EVEN ELECTIONS WITH VOTE BUYING.

      EVEN BRAZILIAN ELECTORATE IS BEING BOUGHT BY POLITICIANS AT EVERY LOCAL OR FEDERAL ELECTIONS. LOCAL AND FEDERAL GOVERNMENTS JUST MULTIPLY SPENDINGS…BUT ONLY DURING ELECTION YEARS ! THEY THEN SAVE MONEY WITH AUSTERITY BUDGETS….FOR 3 YEARS….UNTIL THE NEXT…. ELECTIONS !

      EVERYTHING IS DISGUISED, MANIPULATED, HIDDEN”!!!!

    • Guest

      NO ONE GUILTY…….AGAIN?
      No one guilty, agian…. what is new?

      Everyone in Brazil, including the world knows about these attrocious acts which are commited on a yearly basis, but no one, as usual, is ever brought to trail and sentenced.

      What signal does this send out to the Brazilian public? What does this say about the Brazilian justice system which appears like something similar to a kangeroo court?

      There appears to be no examples and no deterrent. This is laughable, but NOT funny.

      Writing these articles are informative/ shocking, but Brazil is just going around in circles if no one is ever punished or accountable for these crime.

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

    comment *

    • name *

    • email *

    • website *

    This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

    Ads

    You May Also Like

    Lula’s Party Wins in Six State Capitals

    The mayors of 11 state capitals were elected yesterday in the first round of ...

    World’s Top Chicken Exporter Brazil Prepares War on Bird Flu

    Although Brazil still has not had a single case of bird flu, the country ...

    Majority of Brazilians Think Violence and Poverty Are Getting Worse

    The 80th CNT/Sensus poll reports that 78.8% of the 2,000 people it interviewed in ...

    Literature:

    Vadinho, Dona Flor’s first husband died on a Sunday of Carnaval, in the morning, ...

    JANUARY/ FEBRUARY 1998 CALENDAR

    In cases where regulations have to be confronted, Brazilians pride themselves on being especially ...

    Brazil Marks UN’s 60th Anniversary with Seminar on UN Reform

    The role of the United Nations after the 2005 World Summit is the subject ...

    Coping With Too Much Or Too Little Rain in Brazil

    More than 48,000 Brazilian family farmers and their families affected by the 2003/2004 drought ...

    PMDB Party Gets 3 Cabinet Posts in Exchange for Good Will in Brazil

    Brazil’s presidential spokesman, André Singer, announced Wednesday, July 6, that Brazilian President Luiz Inácio ...

    Amazon: A Record to Be Ashamed of

    Producers from the south have invaded the city of Belém, state of Pará, buying ...

    Korean Air

    Los Angeles-Brazil Nonstop Flight Back Thanks to Korean Air

    Starting this Monday, June 2, at 7:30 pm, Korean Air will be offering what ...