Deal reached on 200 prison hostages in Brazil
Updated: 2005-12-28 10:47
Police said on Tuesday they reached an agreement with inmates leading a riot
at a remote prison in Brazil's Amazon and were awaiting the release of nearly
200 hostages who had been visiting relatives and friends on Christmas Day.
Inmates at the Urso Branco penitentiary in Rondonia state were due to release
the hostages -- mostly women, some pregnant -- and end a rebellion soon, after
getting promises authorities would meet some of their demands, police spokesman
Lenilson Guebes said from Urso Branco.
The gang leading the uprising, which started when family and friends of
inmates were visiting on Christmas, demanded the return of its leader, Ednildo
Paula Souza, to the prison.
He escaped two weeks ago but was caught and moved to another penitentiary.
"Souza will be returned to the prison later today and the penitentiary has
agreed to treat the prisoners' family and visitors with more dignity," said
Capt. Luiz Cesar of the state police.
Rioting prisoners stand on top of the Urso
Branco Penitentiary complex near the Rondonia state capital of Porto
Velho, 1,520 miles northwest of Sao Paulo, December 27, 2005.
Prisoners have also demanded a prosecutor that they dislike be relieved of
his duties but officials did not say if they planned to grant that request.
Police said firefighters and emergency medical teams were waiting on the
scene to assist any hostages, guards and inmates, but it was not clear if there
were serious injuries or killings.
A report by the local news agency Agencia Estado, which cited leaders of the
rebellion as sources, said 17 inmates had been killed in the riot, but police
could not confirm that.
Urso Branco is considered one of the most violent jails in Brazil, which has
a long history of bloody prison uprisings. It holds 950 inmates in a space meant
for about half as many.
In April 2004, about 15 people were killed in a weeklong uprising at Urso
Branco. Gruesome video and photos captured a band of inmates brandishing and
tossing body parts and heads from the top of prison towers.
About 200 police were standing guard outside the prison, 1,920 miles from Sao