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Prisoners Film Decapitation Victims in Maranhão

01/07/2014 - 08h22

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EDUARDO SCOLESE
COORDINATOR OF THE FOLHA AGENCY

"You need to adjust the focus," says one prisoner to another, as the other turns on the camera on a mobile phone. The scene is a riot at the Pedrinhas prison in São Luis, in the state of Maranhão.

Once concluded the technical discussion, the film that follows is an explicit document of the appalling violence rife at the complex, where 62 prisoners have died since last year.

The film lasts for two minutes and 32 seconds, and shows the decapitated corpses of three prisoners. The other prisoners pose with the bodies, showing them off like trophies.

The video, which was recorded on December 17, shows the bodies of Diego Michael Mendes Coelho, 21, Manoel Laércio Santos Ribeiro, 46, and Irismar Pereira, 34.

The images, which were handed to Folha by the Union of Attendants to the Penitentiary System of the State of Maranhão, are highly explicit.

ATTENTION: THE FOLLOWING VIDEO CONTAINS VIOLENT SCENES

Video

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Nobody's face is visible in the video. But in the reflection in a floor wet with water and blood, it is possible to see around six people.

The Maranhão state government would not comment on the images, but it confirmed that the three men were victims of an internal conflict in one of the prison's criminal factions.

The greatest rivalry, however, is between prisoners from São Luis, the state capital, and prisoners from the interior of the state, who have formed opposing factions within the complex.

This rivalry is mentioned in a report by the National Justice Council (CNJ), which concludes that the government of Roseana Sarney, of the Brazilian Democratic Movement Party (PMDB), has been incapable of containing the violence.

The report criticizes overcrowding at Pedrinhas (created for 1,700 inmates, the prison is currently home to 2,500), and relates cases of the rape of women who entered the prison for conjugal visits.

It was from within the complex that an order came at the weekend to attack city buses in São Luis.

Four buses were set on fire and a six-year-old girl died after suffering burns over 95% of her body. Her mother is in hospital, and her great-grandmother died of a heart attack after finding out that the girl had been a victim of the attack.

The government has sent the Military Police to the prison in an attempt to contain the violence, and the Ministry of Justice has offered places in federal prisons for the most dangerous prisoners - a proposal accepted by the Maranhão government.

WITH ADDITIONAL MATERIAL FROM DIÓGENES CAMPANHA IN SÃO PAULO

Translated by TOM GATEHOUSE

Read the article in the original language

Reprodução
Nobody's face is visible in the video. But in the reflection in a floor wet with water and blood, it is possible to see around six people
Nobody's face is visible in the video. But in the reflection in a floor wet with water and blood, it is possible to see around six people