Just nine days after leaving power, the president of Brazil, Jair Bolsonaro, conceded this Friday a Christmas grace for military and policeincluding those responsible for the largest prison massacre recorded in the country, that of Carandiru 31 years ago in Sao Paulo, which caused 111 deaths, all killed by the security forces.
The pardon is extended to all agents who have been convicted of culpable crimes, or for acts carried out out of “duty to act” or “for risks” faced by the forces of order.
To measure it benefits the 69 agents still alive of the 74 convicted of the 111 murders of prisoners committed in the Carandiru prison in 1992 in São Paulo.
The agents were convicted in trials held in 2013 and 2014, but they were never imprisoned due to judicial maneuvers with which their lawyers managed to delay the appeal processes in the higher instances.
This is a case that has become a symbol of impunity in Brazil.
The decree also benefits convicts who have been affected by paraplegia, tetraplegia or blindness, after the commission of the crime or as a consequence of it; for serious permanent illness, which, at the same time, imposes a serious limitation of activity and requires continuous care that cannot be provided in the penitentiary institution; or from a serious disease, such as a malignant neoplasm or acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS), in a terminal state.
In all these situations, it will be necessary to accredit it through an official medical report or, failing that, by a doctor appointed by the execution court, reported the Brasil247 news site.
The Christmas pardon will also be granted to public agents of security bodies who, in the exercise of their function or by reason of it, have been convicted, even provisionally, for an act committed more than 30 years ago, provided that, at the time of its commission, is not considered a heinous crime.
The decree also grants the grace to people over the age of 70, sentenced to imprisonment, who have served at least one third of their sentence. Deputy Eduardo Bolsonaro, son of the far-right president, celebrated the thanks on his social media, saying that “justice has been done today” for the policemen responsible for the Carandiru murders, who “have been trying to arrest for 30 years”.
“Military policemen who have entered where no mother would even allow their children to enter and have accomplished their mission. They have suffered, even with the vast majority of society supporting them,” he said, according to the Télam agency.
How was the massacre
The Carandiru massacre dates back to October 2, 1992 and began with a riot in pavilion nine of this prison, the largest in Brazil at the time, which housed nearly 8,000 overcrowded inmates in unsanitary conditions.
The police repressed with extreme violence, shooting at detainees when many of them were locked up in their respective cells without the possibility of defending themselves or escaping.
According to forensic analyzes presented during the trial, the 111 dead received a total of 515 bullets, including 126 in the head, which human rights groups see as evidence they were summarily executed.
The person in charge of the operation, Colonel of Police Ubiratan Guimarães, was convicted in 2001 of excessive use of force, but was not even imprisoned and was acquitted on appeal in 2006, just months before he was assassinated.
The uproar of the massacre led the Brazilian authorities to close Carandiru in 2002, before ordering its demolition and building a park.
Mark Jones is a world traveler and journalist for News Rebeat. With a curious mind and a love of adventure, Mark brings a unique perspective to the latest global events and provides in-depth and thought-provoking coverage of the world at large.