SAO PAULO — Inmates released four prison officers today after holding them hostage for more than a day during an uprising at a Brazilian penitentiary in the northeastern city of Aracaju. Authorities said they had met the rebellious inmates’ main demand that some prisoners be transferred to other jails.
Nearly 130 relatives of prisoners who had arrived Saturday for visits at the prison and got caught up in the uprising were also allowed to leave, said Mauricio Lunes, commanding officer for the military police in the state of Sergipe, home to Aracaju.
Legal counsel Sandra Melo said the family members had not been threatened, but they were trapped while inmates held the prison officers hostage. Melo is the legal adviser for the company Fundacao Reviver, which runs the Advogado Antonio Jacinto Filho prison complex housing 476 inmates.
Lunes said officials agreed to transfer some of the inmates out of the maximum-security prison. That was the key demand behind the uprising that erupted at midday Saturday in one of the wings of the penitentiary.
“We managed to control the situation before it was extended to other areas of the prison,” Lunes told TV Globo’s G1, a Brazilian Internet news portal. Two officers had minor wounds.
About 500,000 inmates are held in Brazil’s more than 1,200 prisons, and uprisings are common. In 2012, inmates at the same prison held 131 hostages for 26 hours to demand an investigation into alleged beatings by guards.