By Lise Alves, Senior Contributing Reporter
SÃO PAULO, BRAZIL – After taking a hostage and holding police at bay for almost eight hours outside a hotel in the center of Brasilia, a gunman identified as Jac Souza dos Santos, 30, released his hostage and surrendered to police late Monday afternoon.
The commotion started early in the morning, according to police, when Santos started knocking on doors at the Saint Pierre Hotel asking guests to vacate the premises because of a terrorist action. Officials say that Santos, took a hostage and claimed that he would blow up the building if his demands were not met.
During the afternoon, TV cameras captured the image of Santos and his hostage, 49-year-old Jose Ailton dos Santos, a hotel employee, as they appeared on one of the hotel balconies. The hostage appeared to be handcuffed and had what police believed to be a vest with dynamite sticks tied to his body.
According to police at the scene, the gunman, said to be a former Agriculture Secretary for the municipality of Combinado, Tocantins, demanded the extradition of Italian activist Cesare Battisti to Italy and the effective implementation of the Ficha Limpa (Clean Record Law). Battisti was released from a Brazilian prison in 2011 and the country’s court denied extradition requests from the Italian government.
After hours of negotiations, however, Santos, finally gave himself up to police and released the hostage unharmed. Officials later discovered that the gun Santos had been seen holding and the dynamite vest he put on his hostages were all fake. The gunman was led to a police station for questioning while the hostage was taken to a hospital.