On May 2, a riot took place at Manaus’ Puraquequara prison. Inmates held seven guards hostage for over five hours before the rebellion was put down by law enforcement — leaving 17 injured, but no deaths. Family members of the prisoners say they were protesting precarious conditions — the police claim they were trying to dig an escape tunnel.
Three years ago, the state witnessed one of the most gruesome massacres ever recorded in Brazil. After a 17-hour rampage, 56 inmates were killed — many of whom had been decapitated and dismembered. A judge who negotiated the end of the riot called the scenes he found “Dantesque.”
For years, prisons in Amazonas — and the Puraquequara facility, in particular — have been denounced as cesspools of human rights violations by National Mechanism for the Combat of Torture (MNPCT), an institution created as a result of the 2002 United Nations Convention signed by the Brazilian government.