Friday, 23 November 2007

Brazilian police sentence, without trial, a 15-year-old girl to a month in a jail cell with up to 34 male prisoners who rape her "innumerable times" says a legal body representative (reported in The Daily Telepgraph). Following her incarceration on 21 October, "an anonymous caller tipped off the media" reports The Sydney Morning Herald.

Para State, where the events occured, is in the north of the republic and has 5.2 million residents. The capital city is Belem, which is home to 1.4 million people.

The expert, Miere Cohen, says that the crime for which the girl was imprisoned, is unknown. Ana Julia Carepa, governor of the state, vows to dispense "exemplary punishment". The girl "said she's able to recognise the police officers who locked her up and the detainees who raped her".

Brazil's prisons are notorious for gang activity. Its cities are also known for gang warfare. Brazil is a Catholic country.

The Christian Science Monitor published a story in 1996 detailing child sex in Brazil, where Jack Epstein reported that police in Bahia State's capital Savador were "known for harassing child prostitutes with beatings and demanding sexual favors".

"We [police] have long been part of the problem," concedes Police Maj. Gautier Amorim Neto. "Now, we want to be part of the solution."

This kind of boilerplate statement is less visible nowadays (remember the story ran over a decade ago), but is typical of dysfunctional organisations where change may require high-level, exemplary punishment.

Judge Afrânio de Andrade Machado in a Bahia city "condemned 15 of the city's leading businessmen to prison terms of eight to 24 years for the 1992 sexual abuse of two girls, aged 9 and 13", reported Epstein.

Cedeca (Center of Defense of Children and Adolescents) was involved in both stories.

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