Sakset/Fra hofta

Britisk politi måtte tåle kritikk for at brasilianeren Menezes ble skutt på t-banen av sivilt politi som trodde han var en terrorist. (Det var dagen etter det mislyktes terrorangrepet 25. juli.) Også fra Brasil kom det heftig kritikk, både fra myndigheter og offentligheten.

Men når man leser om hvordan brasiliansk politi fengsler kvinner sammen med titalls menn for at mennene skal kunne voldta dem, er det noe med proporsjonene som virker merkelige.

Feilen i tilfellet ved Menezes var at man forsøkte å dekke over hvilken blunder som var begått. Men i Brasil er overgrep systematiske og utbredt.

Authorities in the Brazilian Amazon came under fire this week after reports that a 16-year-old girl had been repeatedly raped and tortured while being held in a prison cell with at least 20 men.

According to reports in the Brazilian press, the teenager was arrested last month after being caught stealing in Abaetetuba, a town on the outskirts of Belem, the capital of the Amazon state Para.

She reportedly spent 26 days in a cell at the local police station, although no formal charges were brought. This week the girl emerged from custody covered in bruises and cigarette burns.

The state governor, Ana Julia Carepa, ordered an inquiry following claims the teenager was locked up with the male prisoners for at least a month and was forced to have sex in exchange for food.

Carepa told the Estado news agency there were signs that the girl had been deliberately imprisoned in order for other prisoners to sexually exploit her. On Thursday four policemen were suspended. «It does not matter if she is 15, 20, 50 or 80 years old. A woman should not be held in a cell together with men,» the governor said.

The regional human rights representative of Brazil’s Lawyers Association, Mary Cohen, said she believed the girl had been subjected to «every imaginable type of physical and sexual aggression».

The revelations have unearthed other cases in which women were apparently imprisoned alongside men.

On Wednesday there were reports that a 23-year-old woman had shared a cell with about 70 men in the town of Parauapebas, also in the state of Para.

Amnesty International’s Brazil researcher, Tim Cahill, said: «We receive extensive reports of women in detention who suffer sexual abuse, torture, substandard healthcare and inhuman conditions, showing that this case is far from isolated but continues to be hidden from the public.»

Rape inquiry over girl jailed with 20 men