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Rebelling Inmates Negotiate Faster Cars For Getaway

April 1, 1996

RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil (AP) _ As an inmate trained a gun on him from behind, the director of a maximum-security prison climbed atop a prison wall Sunday to appeal to the government to meet the demands of his inmate captors.

``Brazil doesn’t need another Carandiru!″ Nicola Limongi cried out, referring to state troopers’ killing of 111 inmates in a 1992 prison uprising in metropolitan Sao Paulo.

Police sounded sirens to drown out the shouts of the director, who stood on a perimeter wall at his Agro-Industrial Penitentiary between a line of police sharpshooters and armed inmates. Police said they had heard enough of the demands of the inmates, who hold 23 officials and reporters seized on a prison tour four days earlier.

Negotiations reached a standoff Sunday after a government-selected negotiating team ended two days of talks with rebellion ringleader Leonardo Pareja, a kidnapper and robber.

The government agreed Saturday evening to provide guns, ammunition, $20,000, and five getaway cars to 20 to 30 inmates in exchange for 18 of the hostages. The inmates would leave the prison with five remaining hostages, one in each car.

But close to midnight Saturday, when the exchange was planned, Pareja told police that the inmates wanted faster cars and bigger guns than the government was offering.

``They want to be sure they’ll have faster cars than the police once they get out,″ state police captain Capt. Jurai Alves de Sousa said Sunday from the site of the prison uprising in Aparecida de Goiania, a small town about 580 miles northwest of Rio.

Inmates seized 40 hostages on Thursday, including municipal authorities, judges, police officers and a television crew. The group had been investigating crowding at the prison, which was holding more than twice its intended capacity of 450 inmates.

The convicts released 17 hostages in exchange for water and rations. They surrounded the remaining captives with gasoline canisters, and threatened to ignite the canisters if police move in.

Pareja celebrated his 25th birthday Sunday by playing soccer in the prison courtyards, in a display of nonchalance for Brazilian television cameras. The inmates waved guns and clubs in the air as they ran after the ball.

Police bused inmates who did not participate in the uprising to a soccer stadium and an abandoned psychiatric hospital in nearby Goiania, the state capital.

The inmates initially had been sent to a nearby women’s prison, where six escaped. One was killed while being taken back into custody, and five remain at large.

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