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Latino Daily News

Monday July 28, 2014

Human Rights Watch Denounces Police Torture in Brazil

Human Rights Watch on Monday reported 64 cases of torture and human rights violations by Brazilian police over the past four years.

The report was sent by HRW to the office of President Dilma Rousseff, Brazil’s Congress and the media.

According to the communique, the cases occurred in the states of Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Espiritu Santo, Parana and Bahia since the year 2010, and in 40 cases the use of physical torture has been verified, while in the other 24 a reference is made to “cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment.”

The note said the most common method of torture in Brazilian police stations and jails is the use of plastic bags to take prisoners almost to the point of suffocation, but it also mentions electric shocks and burns inflicted with a variety of instruments.

The note said that most of the cases reported occurred during the first day of detention, for which reason the HRW urges Congress to urgently pass a bill ruling that all detainees must be first placed in the custody of a judge for a maximum period of 24 hours.

The HRW’s denunciations were made public three days after President Rousseff announced the creation of a committee to prevent torture in police stations, prisons, psychiatric facilities and nursing homes.

The committee will be made up of 23 people, 11 designated by the government and 12 by independent human rights organizations, and will be charged with recommending measures for eliminating torture.

While making the announcement last Friday, Rousseff said that torture is “a cancer” that “destroys the fabric of civilization.”

“A society that tortures is a society that is corroded within, that is being devoured from within,” said Rousseff, who was herself tortured in the 1970s while being held prisoner for two years because of her activism against the military dictatorship governing Brazil at the time.

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