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  • Prisoners on the roof of the Puraquequara prison, Manaus, Brazil, May 2, 2020.

    Prisoners on the roof of the Puraquequara prison, Manaus, Brazil, May 2, 2020. | Photo: Twitter/ @manaus_pop

Published 2 May 2020
Opinion

Human rights defenders have pointed out that the Brazilian prison system is one of the world's worst and most inhuman.

Inmates at the Puraquequara prison in Manaus city started a riot on Saturday morning and took seven prison officers hostage. They demand better living conditions inside the prison, which have been notoriously degraded because of the COVID-19 crisis.

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"Through social media, the prisoners indicated that they want improvements such as light, mattresses, fans, good food, and medicine for the sick," local outlet UOL reported.

The Amazon state's Penitentiary Administration Secretariat (SEAP) said that prisoners took advantage of breakfast time to leave their cells, burn mattresses, and take over the facilities.

So far there is no information on people injured or killed during the riot that occurs in a prison where visits to prisoners have been prohibited since March. The Militarized Police special battalions are already at the site and trying to negotiate with the prisoners.

The Amazonas state, which has about four million inhabitants, reported 5,723 COVID-19 cases and 476 deaths as of Friday morning.

Riot at the Puraquequara prison.

According to official data, the daily average of burials in local public cemeteries went from 30 to 120 in the last two weeks.​​​​​​​

In the past, Manaus has been the scene of bloody prison riots and fights. In May 2019, for example, riots in this Amazon city's jails left 55 dead.

International human rights organizations have pointed out that the Brazilian prison system is one of the world's worst and most inhuman.

This situation has visibly worsened since President Jair Bolsonaro, a former captain who does not follow the World Health Organization recommendations, took office in 2019.​​​​​​​

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