Latin America & Caribbean

Brazil police on trial over 1992 Carandiru jail massacre

Sao Paulo grafitti on wall of the Carandiru prison complex (2006) Image copyright AFP
Image caption The walls around the Carandiru complex in Sao Paulo were used by grafitti artists

Fifteen police have gone on trial in Brazil accused of taking part in a prison massacre at the Carandiru prison in Sao Paulo in 1992.

The trial has been split into four phases - one for each floor of the jail in which the 111 killings took place.

The latest hearing is of those accused of killing eight inmates, but their lawyers say it is impossible to verify who fired the fatal shots.

In the two previous phases of the case, 48 policemen were convicted.

The latest part began on Monday with a fresh jury and is expected to go on for about a week.

The fourth and final phase of the trial should start on 17 March.


In August last year, 25 police officers were given long sentences for their part in the massacre.

Each received 624 years for the death of 52 inmates, although by law they cannot spend more than 30 years in jail.

Another 23 officers had been convicted in April.

The defence can only challenge the verdicts after the end of the whole trial.

Another 15 police officers still have to face a jury over the case.

The killings happened as riot police were called to deal with a riot on 2 October 1992.

It began with an argument between two of nearly 10,000 inmates, in what was at the time one of South America's largest prisons. It quickly spread, leading to a battle between rival gangs.

Carandiru was closed in 2002, shortly after inmates co-ordinated simultaneous uprisings in 27 jails across Sao Paulo state during which thousands of visitors were held hostage.

In 2001, Col Ubiratan Guimaraes, who led the police operation to regain control in Carandiru, was convicted of using excessive force. But he was acquitted in an appeal hearing in 2006.

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