Four Survivors of Altamiras Prison Massacre Killed during Transfer

President Bolsonaro said that "problems happen"

Four survivors of the Altamira Prison massacre on Monday (29) were murdered during a transfer to another location. They were part of a group of 30 men who traveled in a jail truck to Belém, 829 km away.

At least 58 prisoners had already died at the Regional Recovery Center in Altamira, the biggest prison riot of the year - surpassing May in Manaus, which left 55 dead. Sixteen prisoners were beheaded on Monday.

In an interview, representatives of the Government of Pará, Helder Barbalho (MDB), said that the prisoners were killed by asphyxiation between 19h of Tuesday (30) and 1h of Wednesday. All the prisoners would be in plastic handcuffs, hands back and tied in pairs. The truck they were in is divided into four cells.

Family of the deceased search for information at the Altamira morgue. (Foto Danilo Verpa/Folhapress, COTIDIANO) - Danilo Verpa

"The four were killed by asphyxiation, by mechanical strangulation," said Pará Public Security Secretary Uálame Machado. "There is evidence in the very shackles of body DNA, skin, hair that identify this."

Machado said the truck stopped at Novo Repartimento, 321 km from Altamira, to feed the prisoners. The deaths occurred between that city and Marabá, 180 km away.

The secretary said that each of these cells has a camera that transmits images to headquarters, but that the system stopped transmitting during the deaths because it is a paved and bumpy stretch.

He denied any ventilation problems and said an expert concluded that it was not possible to hear shouts and beats from inside the ride.

The deaths would only have been discovered upon arrival in Maraba. Three were already dead, and a fourth was rescued but could not resist. Nine prisoners who could have broken the handcuffs are being treated as the prime suspects in the killings.

Machado denied procedural error because all 30 detainees belonged to the Comando Comando Class A (CCA) faction, and some were even cellmates. "The likelihood of this happening was minimal."

Before the release of the Para government investigation, President Jair Bolsonaro (PSL) stated that the deaths of these prisoners are problems that "happen."

"Surely they should be injured, right? It's like an ambulance when it catches a person even sick, on the move, he can die," said Bolsonaro. "Guys, problems happen, right?"

The president said he would talk about the violence in Pará with Justice Minister Sergio Moro, and, despite acknowledging that it is a stone clause, defended the forced labor of prisoners in Brazil.

Translated by Kiratiana Freelon

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