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Last Updated: Sunday, 13 August 2006, 21:22 GMT 22:22 UK
Brazil TV airs kidnap gang demand
PCC video, allegedly showing member of the kidnap gang
The group sent a video, stating their demands
A major Brazilian TV station has aired a video from a criminal gang after the gang kidnapped one of its journalists.

Globo TV broadcast the video from the PCC gang (First Command of the Capital) after reporter Guilherme Portanova was seized at gunpoint.

In the tape, an armed, hooded man read a statement denouncing "inhumane" conditions in Brazilian prisons.

The PCC, whose leaders are currently in prison, has been blamed for recent outbreaks of violence in Sao Paulo.

"We want a prison system with humane conditions, not a bankrupt, inhumane system in which we are subjected to innumerous humiliations and beatings," the unidentified man said on the tape.

"The Brazilian penal system is, in reality, a true human dump, where human beings are thrown as if they are animals."

Unrest

Mr Portanova was seized on Saturday along with an assistant, who was later released.

Guilherme Portanova
Guilherme Portanova usually covered crime for Globo TV
The group said the kidnap and ensuing demand was "the only way we found to transmit an announcement to society and the governing officials," the Associated Press reported.

Police and officials in Sao Paulo state believe the gang is behind several waves of violence in the city and surrounding areas this year.

In the latest unrest, police came under attack and buses, banks and government buildings were burnt out throughout the state.

More than 120 people died in two earlier outbreaks of violence allegedly initiated by the PCC, in May and July.

The gang's leadership is reported to conduct affairs from prison, raising doubts over the Brazilian authorities' abilities to control those behind bars.


SEE ALSO
Gangs renew Brazil street attacks
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Brazil hit by upsurge in violence
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Brazil pins hopes on new prisons
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Police revise Sao Paulo toll down
24 May 06 |  Americas
Calm returns to shocked Sao Paulo
20 May 06 |  Americas
Latin America: Crisis behind bars
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