Latin America & Caribbean

Brazil officials say deadly Cascavel jail riot is over

Rioters on roof of Cascavel prison, 15 Aug 14 Image copyright AFP
Image caption Leaders of the rebellion have been standing on the roof of one of the prison's few remaining buildings

Brazilian authorities say a deadly two-day prison riot in the southern city of Cascavel has come to an end.

Two prison guards who were held hostage have been released, police said.

Five inmates were killed in the riot. Two were beheaded while two more died after being pushed off the prison roof. Police are probing how the fifth died.

Most of the inmates, who were demanding better conditions, have now been transferred to other jails in Parana state.

45-hour stand-off

The inmates and prison officials reached a deal to end the stand-off following hours of talks.

Image copyright AFP
Image caption An estimated 80% of the prison is believed to have been destroyed in the riot

Under the agreement, the inmates promised to free the two prison guards in exchange for being moved to other jails.

The prisoners had complained about the way Cascavel was run, its food and lack of hygiene.

About 200 police officers are sweeping the prison and ambulances are at the scene.

Police told local media that at least 20 inmates had been lightly or moderately injured.

More than 1,000 inmates were locked up in Cascavel at the time the riot started.


Trouble broke out when guards delivering coffee to inmates on Sunday morning were overpowered by the inmates.

A spokesman for the prison guards said a latch on a cell door had been sawn through, allowing the prisoners to pull one of the guards into the cell.

Inmates set alight their mattresses and the leaders of the rebellion took to the roof of the building.

Local media showed them beating two guards, who were being held with ropes around their necks.

The Parana state authorities believe that 20 of the 24 wings of the Cascavel prison were destroyed in the riot.

According to a prison guard spokesman, only 10 wardens were on shift when the riot began.

Brazil has the world's fourth largest prison population, with half a million inmates in facilities meant to hold 300,000.

The BBC's Wyre Davies in Rio de Janeiro says that, across the country, many poorly resourced jails are in effect run by powerful crime gangs.

Earlier this year the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, called for an investigation into the high number of violent deaths in Brazil's prisons, after previous riots at a jail in the north of the country left dozens of people dead.

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