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Last Updated: Monday, 14 August 2006, 13:11 GMT 14:11 UK
Gang releases Brazilian reporter
Guilherme Portanova
Guilherme Portanova reports on crime for Globo TV
A Brazilian TV reporter kidnapped by a criminal gang has been released unharmed after 40 hours, Globo TV says.

Guilherme Portanova was freed in Sao Paulo, hours after Globo broadcast a video from the PCC gang (First Command of the Capital).

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

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

'Human dump'

Mr Portanova was seized on Saturday along with an assistant, who was later released with the video calling for better conditions in Brazil's jails.

PCC video, allegedly showing member of the kidnap gang
The PCC demanded better prison conditions
"We want a prison system with humane conditions, not a bankrupt, inhumane system in which we are subjected to innumerable 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."

The group said the abduction of Mr Portanova, and the ensuing demand, was "the only way we found to transmit an announcement to society and the governing officials".

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.

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