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Brazil police sentenced for prison killings
April 22, 2013, 8:12 am

Carandiru Prison in Sao Paulo was South America's largest prison [AP]

Carandiru Prison in Sao Paulo was South America’s largest prison [AP]

A Brazilian judge on Sunday sentenced 23 police officers to 156 years in prison each for involvement in a horrific prison massacre in 1992.

The officers were convicted of killing 13 inmates during an operation to quell a revolt in Carandiru Prison in Sao Paulo, the largest city in Brazil.

The incident came to be known as the “Carandiru massacre.”

The Carandiru prison was demolished in 2002.

A seven-member jury at the trial found the officers guilty of shooting on rioting prisoners from the facility’s second-floor using machine guns.

Judge Jose Augusto Marzagao on Sunday sentenced the 23 from among 26 officers on trial.

Three others were acquitted and dozens more will be tried in the coming months.

The defence vowed to appeal and argued that “it does not reflect society’s opinion.”

The “Carandiru massacre,” which happened on October 2, 1992, was triggered by a prisoner revolt within the prison.

A total of 111 inmates were killed during the riot, with no casualties on the police side.

Survivors accused police of firing on inmates who had already surrendered or were hiding in their cells.

In 2001, colonel Ubiratan Guimaraes, head of the police operation, was sentenced to 632 years in prison for the deaths of 102 of the 111 prisoners.

But his sentence was annulled in 2006 by Sao Paulo’s Court of Justice.

Under Brazilian law, no one can serve more than 30 years in prison.

Carandiru Prison was South America’s largest penitentiary at its peak, housing over 8,000 inmates – it was closed and demolished in 2002.

Source: Agencies