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Brazilian officers get 156 years in massacre

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By Reuters
Sunday, April 21, 2013, 10:00 p.m.

BRASILIA — A Brazilian court sentenced 23 police officers on Sunday to 156 years in jail each for killing 13 inmates in Brazil's bloodiest prison revolt in which 111 inmates died more than 20 years ago.

Military police stormed Sao Paulo's Carandiru prison in 1992 to quell a riot sparked by a fight between two rival gangs that started with a quarrel during a soccer game.

Prosecutors said police officers brutally repressed the uprising by shooting 102 prisoners, sometimes at point-blank range. Nine inmates are believed to have been killed with knives in the fight between prisoners.

The conviction of police officers is unusual in Brazil, and the tough sentences handed down to those involved in the prison massacre was a new sign of the judiciary holding authorities accountable for breaking the law. Last year, in an unprecedented case, the Supreme Court convicted several top ruling party politicians of corruption.

The Carandiru massacre shocked Brazilians and exposed the awful conditions in Brazilian prisons. It became the subject of a hit 2003 film.

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