470 Inmates Riot in Brazil, Take 120 People Hostage

About 470 inmates rioted at a prison in Aracaju, the capital of the northeastern Brazilian state of Sergipe, and took 120 people hostage, police said Monday.

The uprising started during visiting hours Sunday at the Attorney Antonio Jacinto Filho Penitentiary Complex, where more than 150 police officers and prison guards have been deployed while officials negotiate with the inmates, the Sergipe Public Safety Secretariat said.

The majority of the hostages are prisoners’ relatives, but three guards are also being held by inmates, the secretariat said.

“The quick response by police and officers from the Sergipe State Penitentiary System, and by the prison guards prevented other workers from being overpowered by prisoners,” the secretariat said.

The inmates, who claim they are being abused and tortured at the prison, are demanding, among other things, a new administrative team at the penitentiary, more respect for women on visiting days and the right to smoke in cells.

A committee that includes Sergipe Justice Secretary Benedito Figueiredo, Public Safety Secretary Joao Eloy de Menezes, a judge, a prosecutor, police officers and an ombudsman’s office representative is trying to negotiate with the inmates.

The inmates destroyed a section of the penitentiary during the early hours of the riot and occupied the largest section of the facility.

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