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Last Updated: Monday, 23 June, 2003, 21:33 GMT 22:33 UK
Inmates die in Brazil crackdown
Riot at Carandiru Prison, Sao Paulo, in February 2001
Riots by inmates are common in Brazilian prisons

Thirteen inmates in a Brazil prison have been killed after police moved in to crush a day-old rebellion, according to news reports.

The operation was launched after a mutiny in Puraquequara jail in Manaus, capital of Amazonas state, by inmates calling for a change in leadership and the installation of a telephone line.

Tensions mounted when police and ambulances started to arrive outside the prison, said Globo News Television.

Brazil has been heavily criticised by human rights groups for the conditions of its prisons, where riots regularly break out.

"There are pigsties that are better than some prisons in Brazil," James Cavallaro, a former Human Rights Watch representative in Brazil, told French news agency AFP recently.

He said "brutal treatment, poverty and lack of activities" for prisoners were to blame for the riots.

According to the Roman Catholic Church, there is some form of uprising every 36 hours.

Globo Television News said police moved in to quell Sunday's rebellion in Puraquequara after the prison governor made no reply to inmates' demands.

The Brazilian prison system has a capacity of 155,879 inmates, but according to official figures there are 211,953 people in its prisons.

"Our prison system is chaotic. Instead of prisons we have hoards of inmates: every month there are rebellions, deaths, new organised groups and, above all, a big problem: overpopulation," Roberto Costa Leite, former president of the Brazilian Supreme court said.

Forty new prisons were built since 1997, 24 of which are in the state of Sao Paulo.

However, experts have said that it would be necessary to build 130 more in order to overcome jail overpopulation.

Mass jailbreak in Brazil
12 Apr 03  |  Americas
Brazil prison riot kills 10
29 Sep 02  |  Americas
Brazil's 'worst prison' closes
15 Sep 02  |  Americas
Four killed in Brazil prison revolt
12 Sep 02  |  Americas

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