Tuesday, 4 August 2015

(Amnesty International) Rio de Janeiro police killed 1,500 in five years.

Military police in Rio de Janeiro Brazil have killed about 1,519 residents in the past five years, according to report by Amnesty International, which claimed extrajudicial executions were claiming a disproportionate number of lives in a generation of young, poor and mostly black men.

In a study of official data and newspaper reports of the Olympic host city, the civil rights groups found that almost one in six homicides were carried out by on-duty policy officers as part of a “strategy of fear” in favela communities.

It said more than 75% of the victims from 2010 to 2013 were black men aged between 15 and 29.

Most cases were filed as “resistance followed by death” which shields the perpetrators from civilian courts. Of 220 investigation, Amnesty found only one case that led to an officer being charged.

“Rio de Janeiro is a tale of two cities. On the one hand, the glitz and glamour designed to impress the world and on the other, a city marked by repressive police interventions that are decimating a significant part of a generation of young, black and poor men,” said Atila Roque, director at Amnesty International Brazil.

The report – released to coincide with the one-year countdown to the Olympics – has been fiercely criticised by Rio authorities.

Jose Mariano Beltrame, Brazil’s state security secretary, said the Amnesty report was ‘reckless and misleading’. Photograph: Xu Zijian/Xinhua Press/Corbis

The state security secretary, José Mariano Beltrame, said the Amnesty report was “reckless and misleading” because it failed to recognised that crime levels are down and killings by police have fallen by 85% in favelas where they have installed police pacification units, a programme aimed at reclaiming territories from drug dealers. He said the study also neglected to mention that police have already adopted many of the recommendations mentioned in the report and now use fewer rifles and less ammunition.

Police unions say the wider context has been missed. More people are murdered in Brazil than in any country. Police face considerable risks in what many describe as a war on drug traffickers. More than 100 officers were killed in Rio last year.

Prosecutors have also contradicted Amnesty’s claims that police benefit from impunity, saying 587 officers have been brought to justice in the past five years.

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