A report released this Friday (17) by the Public Defender of Rio de Janeiro shows that the majority of physical and/or psychological attacks on prisoners in the state come from military police officers. According to the document, PM agents respond to 85.6% of the 1,250 reports of torture and ill-treatment that reached the Nucleus for the Defense of Human Rights (Nudedh).
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Although nine out of ten victims claim to be able to identify the perpetrators and 35% of them have suffered apparent injuries, only 20% decided to take administrative or judicial measures against the State or those who attacked them. The data are part of the second report of the DP-RJ since the creation of the Protocol to Prevent and Combat Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatments or Punishments.
The survey also shows that the vast majority of victims are men (96%), almost always black or brown (about 80%), more than half aged between 18 and 40 years and who have not reached high school (71 %).
The report, which analyzed the profile of the victims and the circumstances of the violence to which they were subjected, investigated the criminal proceedings in which these prisoners were defendants, in order to identify whether and how, in the sentence, reports of aggression were taken into account .
Considering the cases in which there is no mention of aggressions neither in the custody hearing, nor in the interrogation or in the grounds of the sentence, in 378 (70.8% of the total) it was found that, in some of these moments, the judge (a) became aware of the allegation made by the accused.
Of these 378, in 175 the answer to the question “If there was physical aggression/torture, is there an apparent injury?” yes, that is, 46.3% of the total. Of this universe, in 16 there is mention of aggression in the sentence (9.1%), being three acquittal and 13 condemnation. This means that in about 80% of the cases where there is visible damage resulting from the reported aggression, the judge does not even mention the aggression in the sentence.
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The Defender’s Office also noted that even in cases where there is a record of the report of aggression to make sure that the judge was in fact aware of this occurrence, what is noticed is that this report disappears throughout the process and ends up being considered irrelevant for the trial, with no more concrete steps being taken.
As an excerpt of the report details, “It was verified whether, in the grounds for the sentence, the judge considers the report of aggression, with 28 cases having been identified; however, in practically all of them, only to disqualify the accused’s version or to affirm that the report did not confirm the alleged aggressions.
“A person arrested in flagrante delicto for drug trafficking, even if they deny committing the crime or claim to have been subjected to aggression or torture at the time of arrest, suffer violations of their rights by not having their statements taken into account, in most cases. It takes a great effort from the defense to give credibility to allegations of mistreatment”, summarizes the coordinator of Criminal Defense, Lucia Helena de Oliveira.
About 93% of all reports of assaults were sent to the Public Defender’s Office. Most of the records date back to March 2020, when, due to the covid-19 pandemic, the custody hearings were suspended and the judges began to analyze the arrest in flagrante delicto without the presence of the custodian, making the possibility of an interview impossible private with the public defender.
Kicking (477) and punching (438) were the types of aggression most mentioned by prisoners. The measures, administrative or judicial, against the aggressors taken with the consent of the victim or their legal representative were, mainly, a request for the initiation of an investigation (227), filing an indemnity action (185) and representation for functional failure (155).
Source: BoF Rio de Janeiro
Edition: Eduardo Miranda