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Urgent Action Update: Twenty-Six Killed After Prison Riots Spread (Brazil: UA 6/17)

Urgent Action
January 17, 2017
 
Twenty-six men were killed and nine others severely injured in Alcaçuz prison in Rio Grande do Norte state, following the spread of riots and conflicts between criminal gangs in northern Brazilian prisons. Authorities must immediately investigate the killings and implement measures to prevent further possible riots and killings in the prison system.
 
Between 14-15 January, 26 men were killed and another nine severely injured during a riot and conflicts between criminal gangs in Alcaçuz prison in the city of Nisia Floresta, Rio Grande do Norte state in northeast Brazil. All those killed were prisoners in Alcaçuz. The vast majority were beheaded, some were quartered and others burned to death. Part of the prison facilities was destroyed during the riot, which lasted for over 14 hours. Over 8,000 people are imprisoned in Rio Grande do Norte state, while its prison system only has the capacity for 3,500. In March 2015, the state government had declared a "state of calamity" in its prison system due to the number of riots that had taken place.
 
This follows the murder of over 90 men in early January in prisons in Amazonas and Roraima states, northern Brazil, also as a result of riots and conflicts between criminal gangs. Between 1-2 January, 56 male prisoners were killed in Anísio Jobim prison in Manaus, Amazonas state, during a riot that lasted 16 hours. On 2 January, four men were killed in Puraquequara prison, also in Manaus. Due to lack of security and destruction of facilities, some prisoners from Anísio Jobim were taken to Vidal Jobim prison, which had been closed in 2016 due to inadequate conditions, and on 8 January, four men were killed there. Also on 8 January, three bodies were found in the woods surrounding Anísio Jobim. On 6 January, at least 31 men were killed in Monte Cristo prison in Boa Vista, Roraima state. The National Justice Council has criticized the severe overcrowding and poor conditions in Anísio Jobim and Monte Cristo prisons. The National Mechanism on the Prevention of Torture has denounced the inhuman conditions of Amazonas’ prison system in particular, and called on the authorities to take urgent action. The situation in Amazonas, Roraima and Rio Grande do Norte state prisons remains unstable. The authorities must adopt immediate measures to address tensions in prisons due to overcrowding and poor conditions and ensure that conflicts between nationally-operating criminal gangs do not lead to further riots and killings.
 
1) TAKE ACTION
Write a letter, send an email, call, fax or tweet:
  • Urging the authorities to ensure prompt, thorough and impartial investigations into the killings of 26 men in Alcaçuz prison, Rio Grande do Norte state, as well as the killings in prisons in Amazonas and Roraima states, and to bring all those suspected of criminal responsibility to justice in fair trials;
  • Urging them to adopt immediate measures to prevent other possible imminent riots and killings in the prison system; 
  • Calling on them to implement the recommendations made by the National Mechanism on the Prevention of Torture and the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture in its report on its mission to Brazil.
Contact these two officials by 27 February, 2017:
Minister of Justice
Alexandre de Moraes
Esplanada dos Ministérios, Bloco T, Palácio da Justiça, edifício sede, 4º andar, Brasília, DF
CEP: 70064-900, Brazil
Twitter: @JusticaGovBR
Facebook: JusticaGovBr
Salutation: Dear Minister 
 
Ambassador Sergio Silva do Amaral
Embassy of Brazil
3006 Massachusetts Ave. NW, Washington DC 20008
Phone: 1 202 238 2700 Fax: 1 202 238 2827 
Email: [email protected] -OR- [email protected]
Salutation: Dear Ambassador
 
2) LET US KNOW YOU TOOK ACTION
 
ADDITIONAL RESOURCES
 
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