Journalists Kidnapped and Tortured by Brazil’s Police

O Dia's front page Paris-based press freedom organization Reporters Without Borders (RSF) is calling for a Brazilian federal commission of enquiry to investigate the kidnap and torture of three employees of Rio's daily newspaper O Dia by paramilitaries.

According to Rio's secretary for Public Safety, José Mariano Beltrame, there were civilian and military policemen involved in the abduction and torture of the journalists and driver of O Dia.

RSF has sent a letter addressed to the Brazilian President, the country's Justice Minister and Rio de Janeiro state's governor:

HE Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, President of Brazil; Mr. Tarso Genro, Minister of Justice; Mr. Sérgio Cabral, Governor of the State of Rio de Janeiro

Dear President Da Silva, Dear Minister and Dear Governor,

You will be aware of the news of the abduction and barbaric mistreatment of three employees of the Rio de Janeiro-based daily O Dia – a reporter, a photographer and a driver – at the hands of a militia operating in a Rio de Janeiro favela on May 14.

Reporters Without Borders is stunned to learn this could have been carried out by members of the security forces who are supposed to combat crime and drug trafficking in sensitive neighborhoods.

The behavior of these militias, formed by policemen, prison officers, firemen and security guards, is no better than the behavior of the criminals they are meant to combat.

This extremely serious case follows other recent physical attacks on the media involving members of the police, especially in the states of Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo. In our view, these cases of abuse of authority require the appointment of a federal commission to investigate and suppress these militias in coordination with the state authorities.

The two O Dia journalists and their driver moved into the Batan favela in Realengo, a western suburb of Rio de Janeiro, at the beginning of May into order to research a story on these militias. According to O Dia, around 10 gunmen kidnapped the photographer and driver from a café on May 14 and initially tried to get residents to lynch them.

Their abductors then bundled them into a red Polo car with the registration number KPB 4592 and drove off with them. At around 9 pm the same day, they kidnapped the reporter from her home in the favela and drove off with her in the same Polo car. One of the militiamen told her: "You work for O Dia and you have been taken prisoner for 'ideological lies'."

The journalists were stripped for their equipment and material and they and their driver were subjected to barbaric mistreatment for seven hours in a secret prison. They were beaten, plastic bags were put over their heads, they were given electric shocks, they were subjected to Russian roulette and they were threatened with being tortured to death.

Finally, at around 4 am, they were released. They are currently in a safe place where they are receiving medical and psychological treatment. The newspaper did not make the case public until 31 May, in order to facilitate the investigation being carried out by the Rio de Janeiro state public security authorities.

The Rio de Janeiro city journalists' union has called it "one of the most serious attacks on press freedom since the end of the military dictatorship."

The Rio de Janeiro media describe these militias as a relatively new phenomenon. According to O Dia, militias of this kind are currently operating in a total of 78 localities and have been responsible for about 200 murders in the past three years.

Their presence is a direct threat to the state guarantees enshrined in the 1988 federal constitution, and it is for this reason that Reporters Without Borders calls for far-reaching measures to be adopted against them.

We thank you in advance for giving this letter your careful attention.

Sincerely,

Robert Ménard Secretary-General
Reporters Without Borders

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  • Show Comments (4)

  • ..

    [quote]No doubt, that they will change the constitution, so that he will be re-elected for a third term, with your warm applauses and blessings !!!![/quote]

    Everything points out to this direction and hope that he remains our President till 2022-to get the job done 😉

  • ch.c.

    “there were civilian and military policemen involved in the abduction and torture of the journalists”
    Who is surprised coming from one of the World Worst Tropical Mud ????
    When someone wants to make revelations about corruptions practices in Brazil…….death is not far away !

    Yeaaaahhhhhhh…..in Brazil you put petty thieves for years in jail, sometimes even without judgement ; But Your Big Thieves are ELECTED AND RE-ELECTED….BY YOU THE BRAZILIAN SOCIETY….NOT ANY BETTER THAN THE ONES YOU ELECT !!!!!!!!!

    Just a few days ago, another reporter was murdered by your police forces because the journalist wanted to make revelations about corruption.

    Viva Bin Lula and his 4000 thieves that you love so much.
    No doubt, that they will change the constitution, so that he will be re-elected for a third term, with your warm applauses and blessings !!!!

  • ..

    Unfortunately, the Secretary General of Reporters san Frontier forgot to mark a copy of his letter to one of our Ministers who is a Sorbonne trained Sociologist and a Carioca too.

  • forrest allen brown

    YES THAT WILL MAKE IT IN THE ROUND FILE
    under we dont care what you say it is our country .

    I did the same thing when they took the roamdeep , i was told we brasil with a smile ,
    and my own US embassy said to bad for you it is a civil matter .

    we know how the department of injustice works in brasil .

    that is why i have been paying to get my revenge out on the ones that did it to me
    by well we wont go there but i can say there lives and that of there familes has changed
    quite a bit .

    and all they would have to do is admit in this forum they were rong and sorry .
    BUT WE ALL KNOW THAT WILL NEVER HAPPEN

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