Rio: “Summary Executions at the Alemão”

Warning: Graphic imagery of fatal gunshot wounds in the above.

teleSUR carries a brief item on the story: Expert report commissioned by federal human rights body concludes that summary executions occurred during the Complexo de Alemão raid earlier this years.

Folha de S. Paulo‘s headline: “Expert report says Rio police executed two.”

But according to other news reports, the report states that six persons were shot in the face from close range. Some 70 bullet wounds were found in the corpses, 75% of them in lethal areas of the body. And is phrased more in terms of “multiple deaths in the incident were very probably summary executions.”

A Rashomon effect seems to be taking hold. I am waiting for the SEDH to issue a copy of the report to the public. A UN delegation is starting an 11-day inspection of Brazilian police forces shortly.

From late July, when the independent review was announced, see also

The grotesque thing was that if you wanted to inspect photographic evidence of the corpses in question, you could find it on YouTube.

Under the heading “The bums get what they deserve,” and with a soundtrack praising the death-dealing mystique of BOPE, the special operations battalion of the Rio state military police.

Photographs apparently taken in a police vehicle, or inside a police precinct.

On YouTube. See


Un informe de un organismo de derechos humanos del gobierno de Brasil indicó que los cuerpos policiales de Rio de Janeiro cometieron ejecuciones sumarias en un operativo en una favela de la ciudad que en junio pasado se saldó con 19 muertos, destacó el sábado la prensa, citada por Afp.

A reported from a government human rights body finds that Rio police committed summary executions in a raid on a shantytown that left 19 dead last June, the press there reported, as cited by the Agence France-Presse.

They did not report it as heavily as they reported the story of the verdict in the death of Jean Charles Menezes in London, or competition betweeen Google and MySpace, mind you. But it was reported.

El documento elaborado por tres peritos forenses de la Secretaría Especial de Derechos Humanos (SEDH) de la Presidencia de la República indicó que seis de los 19 abatidos en el Complejo do Alemao (zona norte) fueron baleadas en la cara y que “varias de las muertes habrían ocurrido por ejecución” a manos de la policía.

The document prepared by three forensic experts from the SEDH (Special Secretary for Human Rights) of the Brazilian executive branch found that six of the 19 fatal casualties were shot in the face, and that “a number of the deaths occurred by execution” at the hands of the police.

Agência Brasil reports that state authorities responded sharply — armed with non-existent facts:

O secretário estadual de Segurança, José Mariano Beltrame, divulgou nota em que afirma que “nenhum dos autores do relatório alternativo esteve no Rio de Janeiro para realizar qualquer diligência”.

State public security secretary Beltrame issued a statement in which he states that “none of the authors of this alternative reporter have been in Rio realizing any first-hand investigations.”

O coordenador da Comissão Permanente de Combate à Tortura e à Violência Institucional da Secretaria Especial dos Direitos Humanos, Pedro Montenegro, contestou esta afirmação em entrevista à Agência Brasil: “É uma desinformação tremenda e assustadora do secretário. Fui recebido com três peritos pelo chefe da Polícia Civil em 19 de julho e no dia seguinte, a equipe foi ao Instituto Médico Legal e ao Instituto de Criminalística”.

The coordinator of the SEDH’s Permanent Commission on Torture and Institutional Violence, Pedro Montenegro, contested that statement in an interview with AB: “This is an astonishing piece of gross disinformation from the state secretary. I and the three experts met with the chief of the state judicial police on July 19 and on the following day, the team went to the medical examiner’s office and the Criminalistics Institute.

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No relatório, os peritos Jorge Paulete Vanrell, Jadir Ataíde dos Santos e Débora Maria Vargas Lima concluem que há “argumentos para embasar a afirmação de existência de execução sumária e arbitrária”. E listam as justificativas: “grande número de orifícios de entrada na região posterior do corpo, numerosos ferimentos em regiões letais, elevada média de disparos por vítima, proximidade de disparos, seqüência de disparos em rajada e armas diferentes utilizadas numa mesma vítima, ausência de indicativos de condutas destinadas à captura destas vítimas e ausência de indicadores de condutas defensivas por parte das vítimas”.

In the report, experts Jorge Paulete Vanrell, Jadir Ataíde dos Santos and Débora Maria Vargas Lima conclude that “there are bases for affirming the existence of summary and arbitrary execution.” They list those bases: “A large number of entry wounds in the rear portion of the body, numerous wounds in lethal areas, an elevated average number of bullet wounds per victim, wounds grouped closely together, signs that shots were fired in bursts, different weapons used on the same victim, absence of signs that efforts were made to capture these fictions, and absence of signs that the victims were engaged in defensive behavior.”

A Secretaria de Segurança considera que as informações apuradas até agora não permitem que se conclua ter havido execução. Em nota, diz ainda que “becos e ruelas das favelas, o comportamento e o armamento proibido dos traficantes restringem o alcance dos manuais de perícia, sendo sumamente necessária a contextualização dos fatos”. Três inquéritos policiais correm sob a fiscalização do Ministério Público do Rio de Janeiro e mais de 50 pessoas já foram ouvidas.

The state public security secretary does not consider that information collected to date permit the conclusion that executions took place.

The human rights committee of the state bar association charged that is because evidence that might have helped determine that fact was deliberately destroyed.

The corpses, for example, were reportedly policed up clothed, transported in BOPE’s armored vehicle, the caveirão, and arrived at the medical examiner’s office naked.

The president of that OAB committee was told to shut the fuck up, then summarily borked. See

In its press release, it adds that “narrow alleyways and winding paths in the shantytowns, the conduct of and the illegal arms carried by the traffickers, restrict the applicability of the manuals for crime-scene investigation, making it highly necessary to contextualize the facts.”

These people never secured and preserved a crime scene for forensic examination in their lives. See also

The state prosecutor of Rio has three cases underway, and 50 witness statements have been taken.

On “insufficient evidence,” see also

O relatório foi encomendado pela Secretaria Especial dos Direitos Humanos, a pedido da Polícia Civil do Rio de Janeiro e da Comissão de Direitos Humanos da Assembléia Legislativa do Rio de Janeiro.

The report was commissioned by the federal SEDH, at the request of the state judicial police and the human rights commission of the state legislature.

A Organização das Nações Unidas considera um ato como execução sumária quando há uso excessivo da força pelos funcionários encarregados de cumprir a lei.

The UN considers summary execution to have occurred when excessive force is used by law enforcement agents.

I think that is not quite precisely accurate.

Let me check the exact wording.


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