Historic decision: Federal District Court determines indemnity for

The Federal District Court ruled on Thursday (26) that the District Government indemnify 23 homeless people for material and moral damages, who lost their personal property after an illegal seizure carried out in the South Commercial Sector, in the Plano Piloto region of Brasilia, on September 19, 2020.

The sentence judged by the judge of the 7th Public Finance Court of the Federal District, Paulo Afonso Cavichioli Carmona, condemns the GDF to pay the amount of R$ 5 thousand for each of the 23 affected people and who are the plaintiffs, together with the Instituto No Setor , of the lawsuit against the Government, and also determines the payment as indemnity for collective pain and suffering, the amount of R$ 300 thousand “to be administered by the Cultural and Social Institute in the Sector to carry out actions in favor of people in a street situation in Brasília, upon rendering of accounts to that court and inspection by the Public Ministry”.

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The decision also says that the GDF must refrain from carrying out operations that “violate the fundamental rights of homeless residents, under penalty of a fine of R$3,000 per act” and that the collection of personal documents is illegal and should not be practiced. In the document, the judge also considered the action as a hygienist policy.

The seizure of assets was carried out in the same way as a more recent action also carried out by the GDF, through the Secretariat for the Protection of the Urbanistic Order (DF Legal) on July 28: strong military apparatus, seizure of personal assets, magazine, among others. No prior notice or presentation of documentation justifying the seizure of materials used for people’s survival. Images recorded on the day of the arrest show four trucks loaded with materials such as clothes, blankets, mattresses, bicycles, personal documents, food and personal hygiene items.

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In the ruling, Judge Paulo Carmona points out that there was a literal affront to all legal provisions under a population group in extreme poverty, which uses public areas as spaces for housing and sustenance.

“Personal belongings of homeless residents were seized, without them having access to the state decision that motivated such measures and without an individual seizure notice of the assets being drawn up, in disagreement with various constitutional rules that guarantee due legal process, the protection of the right to property, the protection of the destitute and the dignity of the human person”, he affirms, in one of the sentences of the sentence.

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In the decision, the judge also maintains that the action was carried out at a time of critical health in the country, the covid-19 pandemic, which in September registered high rates of contamination and death throughout the country and in the Federal District. “It should be noted that the personal belongings taken did not receive any treatment in order to prevent deterioration, were wet, according to constant filming of the records, mixed and returned, in part, without any kind of care or attention, especially at a critical moment of contagion of a lethal virus that has been decimating a considerable number of human beings around the world and in large numbers in Brazil, this all increases the risk of affecting the health and life of the authors, aggravating their situation of vulnerability and degrading the right to dignity and the minimum existential at a time when the rains began in the Federal District”.

historic decision

This is the first time that people living on the streets have won a lawsuit against the State in court. “It’s a historic sentence, it’s an institutionalization of acts that had been practiced for years, by several governments in different states, which is notoriously illegal and which finally received an adequate response from the judiciary”, emphasizes the lawyer of Instituto No Setor, Alex Zarkadas .

The decision in the first instance allows the Federal District Government to appeal the sentence, until the final decision is made.

Source: Federal District BdF

Edition: Marcia Silva

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