Lawyers for protesters arrested in political acts, such as January 8 of this year and December 12, 2022, reported in a public hearing, this Wednesday (13), human rights violations that occurred against their clients during the detention process. Defenders alleged non-compliance with the legal process, torture and poor incarceration conditions.
The hearing was held at the Security and Combating of Organized Crime Commission of the Chamber of Deputies and took place on the same day that the Federal Supreme Court (STF) began the trial of Aécio Pereira in the investigation investigating the January 8 demonstrations.
Lawyer Cláudio Luís Caivano, who represents corporal Gerson Luiz dos Santos and his wife, Marcela Tatiane de Oliveira Santos, read a report made by his client about the arrest process carried out by the Military Police in relation to protesters camped in front of the General Headquarters of the Army, in Brasília, on December 9th. The couple had not participated in the acts of vandalism on January 8, but they were arrested for being camped.
“They said we would have to leave and gave us a deadline of one hour. We gathered our things and went in front of a stage that was set up with speakers, waiting for a response from the Army itself and other authorities. […] We were deceived. An Army officer spoke over the megaphone for us to get on the buses that were there because they were going to take us safely to a safe location and would only carry out screening. The buses paraded throughout Brasília for the press to see. They took us to a Military Police Battalion, where we were without water, without food, without a bathroom for hours. There was no bathroom on site. They used the back wall of the Military Police Battalion,” said the lawyer.
Having a four-year-old daughter and a 15-year-old daughter, the expectation reported by the lawyer was that Marcela would be released immediately. According to the Code of Criminal Procedure, in its article 318, mothers of children under 12 years of age may have preventive detention converted into house arrest.
“The deputy who attended to my wife had allowed her to leave, as we have a 4-year-old daughter and a 15-year-old daughter, but as she was leaving, another police officer stopped her saying he couldn’t leave. The deputy said it was orders and that she no longer had the discretionary power to release anyone else at that time.”
After being sent to the Papuda Penitentiary Complex, Santos said that, due to the prison conditions, he fell ill and had back problems. When he asked for pain medication, he was denied.
“I asked the guards for medicine and how horrible it was to be in that place. They didn’t give me medicine and didn’t allow me to take medicine that I had in my bag. Finally, I had to wait more than a week for medical care, with severe pain in the spine and radiating to the leg. I had to roll on the floor of the cell to try to sleep. I only received medical attention on February 15th, when they took me to a wheelchair.”
Santos was released on March 15 and was forced to wear an electronic ankle bracelet. By court order, he must present himself to court every Friday for verification.
Arrested on December 12, 2022
This Wednesday’s hearing also heard prisoners in the demonstrations on December 12, 2022, the date of the diploma of then-elected president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva (PT). Lawyer Geovane Veras Pessoa, who represents the indigenous leader and pastor José Acácio Serere Xavante, Cacique Serere, stated that the indigenous man was denied access to diabetes medication by the Papuda prison.
“They refused (the request for medicines). I had to submit the request again together with another doctor specializing in gastro who carried out a study proving that the Xavante ethnic group dies prematurely due to type 2 diabetes”, reports the lawyer.
The indigenous man was arrested for alleged threats to President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva (PT) and Minister Alexandre de Moraes, of the Federal Supreme Court. The initial request for arrest was made by the Union’s deputy attorney general, Lindôra Araújo. At the time, the Federal Attorney General’s Office (PGR) requested temporary arrest for Serere, but Moraes converted it into preventive detention. The chief was released last Saturday (9).
Regarding the arrest, Veras Pessoa also reports that, for the days he was imprisoned, Serere would have already served the sentence prescribed for the crime with which he was accused. “Analyzing the article mentioned, Serere would receive, in the worst case scenario, 141 days of detention. He had 278 days. He exceeded the legal term for imprisonment,” he said. He also says that he made several demonstrations to the National Foundation of Indigenous Peoples (Funai), but that the organization refused to receive him.”
Upon being released, Serere was forced to wear an electronic ankle bracelet, which according to the lawyer is not appropriate because he has already served his sentence. The equipment also hinders indigenous people from carrying out religious and social activities, as it serves communities close to Aragaças (GO).
“Yesterday I filed a request with the Federal Supreme Court (STF) to remove the ankle bracelet, because he has already served his sentence. And alternatively, I made a request for the ankle bracelet to be extended to a maximum of 500 km. He has this role as leader chief and in the hierarchy of the Xavantes he is second. He acts as ceremonial leader and inside he preaches the word of God”, said the lawyer.
Also arrested for the actions of December 12th, journalist Klio Hirano was another case cited by the commission as a human rights violation. On December 29, 2022, she was arrested on orders from Moraes in the operation that investigated alleged acts of vandalism. On the day, a group protested against Serere’s arrest in front of the Federal Police headquarters. According to lawyer Sérgio Luís Nery Júnior, the journalist spent months without treatment for hip osteonecrosis, a complication caused by an autoimmune disease.
“She was imprisoned for eight months, without medical treatment, without psychological treatment, without psychiatric treatment, worsening her health condition. The necrosis began to increase and affect other organs of hers,” said the lawyer. He reported that Klio was released last Tuesday (5), after a new request for release made by the defense to Moraes.
“The Federal Attorney General’s Office requested that preventive detention be unnecessary, both for Klio and the others. There is only a single video about the case (in which Klio appears commenting on the acts). In the same procedural document, it is found alleged practice of crimes of armed criminal association, qualified damage and arson; in addition to the violent abolition of the Democratic Rule of Law and coup d’état. Klio does not face any of these accusations. She was not committing any crime, he was simply exercising his profession of journalist covering the act”, adds the lawyer.