Nine days after leaving power, Bolsonaro pardoned the military and police responsible for the largest prison massacre in the country

Nine days after leaving power, Bolsonaro pardoned the military and police responsible for the largest prison massacre in the country

It happened in São Paulo 31 years ago and left 111 dead. The measure benefits the 69 of the 74 involved.

Just nine days after leaving power, the president of Brazil, Jair Bolsonaro, conceded this Friday a Christmas pardon for the military and policeincluding those responsible for the largest prison massacre recorded in the country, that of Carandiru 31 years ago in São Paulo, which left 111 dead, all killed by security forces.

The pardon is extensive to all agents who have been convicted of culpable crimes, or for acts carried out due to “their duty to act” or “due to risks” faced by the security forces.

Measure benefits the 69 agents who are still alive of the 74 who were sentenced for the 111 homicides 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 trials in higher instances.

This is a case that has become a symbol of impunity in Brazil.

The decree also benefits those convicted who have been affected by paraplegia, quadriplegia or blindness, after the commission of the crime or as a consequence of it; due to permanent serious illness, which, at the same time, imposes a severe limitation of activity and requires continuous care that cannot be provided in the penitentiary establishment; or by a serious illness, such as a malignant neoplasm or acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS), in an end-stage state.

Crosses in front of the Law School of the University of Sao Paulo (USP) in homage to the prisoners killed in the massacre at the Carandiru Penitentiary in Sao Paulo. AFP photo.

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 enforcement court, reported the journalistic website Brasil247.

A Christmas pardon will also be granted to public agents of security organizations who, in the exercise of their function or on the occasion of it, have been sentenced, even provisionally, for an act committed more than 30 years ago, provided that, at time of its commission, it is not considered a heinous crime.

The decree also grants the pardon to people over 70 years of age, sentenced to imprisonment, who have served at least one third of the sentence. Deputy Eduardo Bolsonaro, son of the far-right president, celebrated the pardons on his social networks, saying that “today justice was done” for the police officers responsible for the homicides in Carandiru, whom they “tried to arrest for 30 years.”

“Military policemen who entered where no mother would even allow their children to enter and fulfilled their mission. They suffered, even with the overwhelming 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 the inmates when many of them were locked in their respective cells with no possibility of defending themselves or fleeing.

Implosion of the wings of the Carandiru prison.  Photo EFE.

Implosion of the wings of the Carandiru prison. Photo EFE.

According to the forensic analyzes presented during the trial, the 111 dead received a total of 515 bullets, including 126 to the head, which for human rights groups constitutes proof that they were summarily executed.

The person in charge of the operation, police colonel Ubiratan Guimarães, was sentenced in 2001 for the excessive use of force, but he was also not jailed and was acquitted on appeal in 2006, a few months before he was assassinated.

The uproar of the massacre led Brazilian authorities to close Carandiru in 2002, then order its demolition and build a park there.

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