Website airs video of beheaded inmates in Brazil jail

BRASïLIA (AFP) - A gruesome video showing three beheaded inmates in a north-eastern Brazilian jail hit by rampant gang violence was aired on Tuesday on the website of the daily Folha de Sao Paulo.

The pictures were filmed on Dec 17 by other prisoners following a mutiny resulting from a clash between two rival gangs in the penitentiary in Sao Luis, capital of Maranhao state, the daily said.

Shown were the bodies of three inmates lying in a pool of blood, including two with their heads completely cut off and the third with the head hanging.

All three had various stab wounds and burns on the torso.

Folha said it received the video from the union representing prison workers in Maranhao.

Gang violence in the overcrowded Pedrinhas facility, which was built for 1,700 inmates but houses 2,500, was detailed in an official probe that concluded that the state of Maranhao was incapable to maintaining order inside.

Federal authorities plan to transfer leaders of the two rival gangs to other jails across the country, a move which last weekend triggered a wave of violence ordered from inside Pedrinhas, officials said.

Shots were fired at a police station and four buses were set ablaze. A six-year-old girl died from her wounds and three other passengers were wounded.

Last October, Maranhao authorities slapped a six-month state of emergency within the state's penitentiary system after clashes that left nine people dead.

They also accepted help from the justice ministry which offered space in federal prisons to hold leaders of rival gangs detained in Pedrinhas.

Press reports said 62 inmates have died in the jail since last year.