Torture and executions corrode the Rule of Law
Conectas calls for rigorous investigation and prosecution of the police offers involved in the massacre of Vila Cruzeiro, in Rio de Janeiro, and the murder of Genivaldo de Jesus Santos, in Sergipe
Ação de agentes da Polícia Rodoviária Federal que resultou na execução por sufocamento, à luz do dia e diante das câmeras, de Genivaldo de Jesus Santos, em Sergipe (Foto: Reprodução)
The cruelty, violence and illegality of the actions of Federal Highway Police officers, which resulted in the asphyxiation – in broad daylight and caught on camera – of Genivaldo de Jesus Santos in the state of Sergipe, is the subject of resounding and vigorous condemnation by Conectas Human Rights that, with profound grief and in solidarity with his family, calls for a swift investigation and prosecution of not only the officers involved but also the management of this police organization.
The images clearly demonstrate absolute non-compliance with the rules of the Democratic State under the Rule of Law and an absurd disregard for the life and dignity of the human person.
As if the explicit scene of abuse of authority, torture and murder were not enough, the competent authorities have also failed to acknowledge the events as serious human rights violations and have not taken any steps to hold the officers to account and to guarantee that the rights of victims and family members are protected. In this regard, the statement released by the police department causes disgust when it informs that “immobilization techniques and instruments of less offensive power” were employed and it suggests that the cause of his demise was “sudden death”.
Regrettably, the episode took place just days after officers from the same institution were involved in another serious massacre that took place in Rio de Janeiro, in the community of Vila Cruzeiro, last Tuesday (May 24), in which at least 26 people were killed. The operation followed the well-known script of the police narrative: execution of a search and seizure warrant against alleged members of organized crime gangs and claims of being met with confrontation and resistance to justify indiscriminate killing. According to press reports, there are signs of executions and tampering with crime scenes. Meanwhile, the whole population of the favela is facing a climate of war, as they are unable to leave their homes while schools, health care centers and businesses are closed.
In a statement released on Friday, May 27, the UN Human Rights Regional Office for South America called on the Brazilian authorities for a “swift and thorough investigation” into the death of Genivaldo, insisting that the “investigations initiated by the Federal Police and the Public Prosecutor’s Office comply with international human rights standards and that the officers responsible are brought to justice, while guaranteeing reparations for the victim’s family”.
Conectas has joined the appeal, demanding that the authorities responsible for exercising internal and external control over police activity conduct a rigorous investigation into the two cases and hold the officers involved to account, and also that they honor the commitment made internationally by Brazil to combat these and other types of serious human rights violations.