App delivery boy Paulo Galo and his wife, seamstress Gessica, temporarily imprisoned since last Wednesday (28) in São Paulo, left their 3-year-old daughter and brother of Gessica, age 9, for whom they are responsible, to care of the delivery man’s parents, both over 70 years old.
Residents of the municipality of Jacareí, 80 kilometers from the capital of São Paulo, the elderly rushed to the couple’s house to take care of the children, in a neighborhood on the outskirts of São Paulo.
Bruno Garcia de Alcaraz Iglesias, lawyer representing the couple. he went to the place to provide assistance and claims that he found a desolate family.
“I came across Rooster’s mother crying, in tears. And the little girl asking about her father and mother, not understanding at all what was going on. I was sensitive to the situation of the lady and I tried to calm her down”, she says.
While Paulo and Gessica sleep apart in cells at police stations, the two children were placed in the care of their paternal grandparents.
“At the moment, we have two underage children without their parents’ protection. How do you explain to these children that their father and mother are in prison? How is this seen in the community where they live? They are not criminals,” says Bruno Garcia de Alcaraz Iglesias, a lawyer representing the couple.
Galo and Gessica had an arrest warrant issued by the courts as part of a police investigation into the fire set in tires around the statue of pioneer Borba Gato, in the south of São Paulo, last Saturday (24).
::Judge orders the arrest of Galo and his wife for a fire in a statue of Borba Gato; couple have 3 year old daughter::
Galo reported to police on Wednesday and claimed to be one of the perpetrators of the protest. His wife, on the other hand, claims she was not at the act, which the police say they do not know is true.
Although they have fixed residence, do not have a criminal record and are collaborating with the investigations, the Civil Police of São Paulo understood that it was necessary to arrest both of them so that the investigations could continue, and the courts authorized their arrest.
Galo and Gessica were arrested on Wednesday (28) after presenting themselves spontaneously to the Civil Police. He, campaigner for the rights of application delivery people; she, a 29-year-old self-employed seamstress who takes care of her daughter and brother.
Galo’s cell phone has a chip in his wife’s name. Accompanying him to the police station on Wednesday, she was surprised by her own arrest, justified, according to police, by the ownership of the cell phone chip, which had been used by her husband to arrange Saturday’s protest.
According to the lawyer, the seamstress despaired when she was informed of the arrest warrant that had been imposed on her, right there at the police station, while her husband was testifying.
:: “Galo” appears at the police to explain the reasons for the burning of the statue of Borba Gato ::
“The only thing she asked me was, ‘Doctor, what am I going to do with the kids? Who will they stay with? Who will take care of it? Who will feed? I’m poor, I don’t have the money to hire someone to take care of it’”, describes Iglesias.
With the help of friends and neighbors, the grandparents managed to arrive at the prisoners’ home on the same day of their detention, where they remain under the watchful eyes of the neighborhood.
At the time of the incident at the statue, Gessica was just taking care of the children at home, in Jardim Guaraú, more than 15 kilometers away from the monument in honor of the pioneer, according to her, the lawyer and witnesses in the neighborhood.
According to the police, the videos that have been analyzed so far are not conclusive as to whether she participated in the act at the statue or not. When in doubt, she was arrested.
The lawyer says he does not understand the legal logic of his client’s arrest. “She is being criminalized for the simple fact of having loaned her cell phone chip to her husband. It was the only thing she did,” he says.
A post on Gessica’s social media with images of the fire was also used as a justification for her arrest, according to the police’s request for temporary arrest.
“The decision is absolutely illegal. The Rooster admitted having participated in the action. He gave up his own freedom, his own well-being, for the greater good, to raise a necessary discussion. But Gessica didn’t participate in any of this”, maintains the lawyer.
São Paulo Civil Police delegate Júlio Jesus, who participates in the investigations, confirms the view of the defense lawyers, who claim that these are just signs of Gessica’s involvement in the fire. So he explained to journalists last Wednesday the reasons for arresting Gessica:
“The arrest serves to continue the investigations. If it is found that she did not participate, the arrest can be revoked. During the investigations, it was verified that the phone used by Paulo is in her name. On her social networks, she publishes photos of the act, but you can’t tell if she’s there or not. That’s why she asked for her arrest, to continue the investigations.”
Why was Gessica arrested?
The temporary arrest, which the seamstress was subjected to, is provided for in the Code of Criminal Procedure when the arrest is essential for the continuation of the investigation.
It occurs, for example, when the accused does not have a fixed residence or refuses to provide his/her own identity, or even when his/her escape proves imminent, all if the evidence of his/her authorship of the crime is evident and if such crime is of high gravity .
None of this happened in the case of Gessica, as lawyer Marcella Rezende, who is also part of the defense team, points out.
“For the crimes that are being investigated, we realize that the temporary detention would only fit if it was found that she is part of a ‘criminal association’. And to say that she is part of a criminal organization with her husband is absurd. There is no indication in the records that allows this to be affirmed”, explains the lawyer.
In the defense’s assessment, the detention also violates a binding decision of the Supreme Court (STF) to protect children of mothers who are placed in detention while being investigated.
In February 2018, the Court decided – in a summary judgment, that is, with reflection for later situations – that pregnant women and mothers of children up to 12 years old who are provisionally imprisoned and do not present high danger have the right to leave prison in house arrest until the judgment of the case.
“The STF decision is applicable to temporary detention, as its purpose is to protect the destitute minor. So, if we have a child who was left helpless because both parents were arrested together, we really understand that Gessica’s arrest is not in accordance with current legal norms”, says Marcella.
::What does it mean to remove statues of slavers from public space?:;
The hopes of the defense and the family of Paulo and Gessica to be released as soon as possible rest on a request by Habeas Corpus (HC) presented to court last Thursday morning (29).
So far, the judge in charge appreciated the request on Thursday night, but has not taken any decision, giving the delegate investigating the case another 24 hours to justify to the court why the arrests are necessary for the good progress of the investigations. Meanwhile, the children follow with the elderly, and the goodwill and voluntary zeal of the neighbors.
For Iglesias, the injustices surrounding Gessica’s arrest are part of an attack on the political struggle led by the group of activists who, by questioning Borba Gato’s image, put an entire country to think.
“This is about the criminalization of a legitimate and essential social movement in the current situation in the country. It is the criminalization of the periphery, poverty, blacks and all those who need to have a voice, but are always suffocated by the wild social structure in which we live”, evaluates the lawyer.
Edition: Leandro Melito and Vinícius Segalla