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Political Prisoners in absurd and Inhumane Conditions

Text distributed on Brazilian social networks


ABSURD AND INHUMAN CONDITIONS – 97% of the people who arrived were not from the DF and came from other states of the federation.

– Personal belongings were allocated in a disabled bathroom in the sunbathing area because, according to the Administration, there was no other suitable place to store the large volume of goods that people brought. There was a label identifying the respective owner.

During the visit to Block VI, which was already occupied, we had the opportunity to briefly interview some people in custody. There were 12 people in each cell, all of whom had mattresses. The cells have four bunk beds with two beds, so 4 people were sleeping on the floor. The cells had a sink, a cold shower and a toilet. The bathroom is visible to anyone passing by in the hallway, with no privacy to fulfill their needs.

– The cell doors are
plated and there are some windows, which allow medium lighting and ventilation in the place.
Most (of the prisoners) reported that they had received a hygiene kit, but among the people who had been there for a short time, some had not yet received these items. Some people even reported that they did not receive bed linen and towels. They also highlighted the need for a garbage bag in the cells.

Unanimously, they reported that they were treated in a respectful and dignified manner in the unit by the Criminal Police, as well as by the Civil Police. People reported that they had received medical care, but some were still without access to continuous use medication, such as medication for hypertension or for cardiovascular problems.

– During the interviews, we found that the main concern of those in custody was family contact, since not all of them were able to contact their families. Some people also had their mothers and partners detained and, until that moment, had no information about their whereabouts (whether they remain in custody or at liberty).

– Most do not have private legal assistance. Some people reported that they still had not been able to make contact with their lawyer.

Female Penitentiary

– We were welcomed by Director Kamila Mendonça. She reported that they began to receive the first women in the early hours of Monday (81 people). Subsequently, they continuously received convoys until they reached a total of 161 new women prisoners in the unit. She pointed out that they arrive without communication from the prison and without any information about their condition; many do not know where they are going. Some cases of Covid-19 were detected, which were isolated.

– They arrived with only the clothes on their backs or with garments that did not conform to the standard of the prison unit; as a rule they had not been able to take a bath. There was no provision for holding custody hearings and there were prisoners over 60 years old. One of them had a shaved head and reported the need for cancer treatment. We request that you send the documentation for the preparation of the request for freedom in the context of a custody hearing.

There was a small number of custody hearings held, surpassing the period of 5 (five) days since the 29th arrest. Many reported not having had contact with the family, even at the time of arrest. The main demand is contact with family members (many do not remember their phone numbers).
– There was also a lack of supply, for all those in custody, of a hygiene kit, in particular soap and deodorant.

– Total prisoners: 904 new prisoners. The number increased from 1200 to 2104 people deprived of their liberty, representing 85% of the increase in the prison population in CDP II.

– The Director informed that many materials were received, that there was great difficulty in sorting these materials. The assets were identified and deposited, the amounts in cash remained with the prisoners (one of them reportedly had R$3,000), medicines and gold rings.
– All received new mattresses, hygiene kits were received and forwarded little by little. Food was supplied by the company Vogue and there was no canteen in operation.

– The team found many complaints of mental health, depression and anxiety. There was a cell with only elderly people, 30 military personnel (including Navy officers), police officers from other states, people with higher education who were allocated in separate cells configuring General Staff Rooms. No information about replacement was provided.

– All tickets have been tested for COVID; in the health screening, vaccination was offered and some detainees were vaccinated.

– In the inspection, there was an average of 14 to 16 people per cell. Reports were collected about the presence of many leaks in the cells of Wing A and B, block VI, which would make it impossible to sleep during the rains.

– About food, some reported the poor quality of food and little quantity of fruit, with the discarding of most of the lunchboxes (lunch and dinner) being reported because they could not eat due to the bad taste and poor preparation.

– Many are not on controlled medication. They confirmed that they had enough mattresses and there were no reports of violence, but some reported that female criminal police officers were carrying out a vexatious search.
Many reported the difficulty in contacting the lawyers, recognizing and praising the work of the Public Defender’s Office. A list of names and emergency measures was drawn up.

– Four meals are served a day: breakfast (chocolate drink and bread), lunch (protein, rice and beans), dinner (protein, rice and beans) and supper (bread and fruit). The lunchbox with the meal weighs 600 grams. Access to water for consumption and hygiene is available 24 hours a day from the faucet in the cells. There is no hot shower available in the cells, which was the subject of a complaint by the interviewees.
Some reported that it had been three days without sunbathing, which only returned for just one day, but with reduced time. They are allocated and distributed an average of four to five in the tiny cell that is used for intimate visits, they even had to unclog the toilet in the bathroom by hand.

– Due to the lack of uniforms, the women reported that since the moment of arrest they had been unable to change clothes.

– Women were assisted who were using blankets to cover themselves while washing their clothes. There was no shower in one of the cells (cell 11) and no automated flushing in cell 13, wing A, Block VI. The women used bags to fill with tap water and perform hygiene.


“It cannot be denied that the situation experienced is far from normal, due to the detention of a large number of people in a short period of time, with referral to the prison system of a single entity of the federation, in this case the Federal District. However, considering that a large part of the custody hearings were held online […] there is no justification for the excessive time taken to present the detainees to the Judiciary for holding the custody hearings”, says part of the report.

The report also points out that there was no respect for the prisoner’s constitutional right of communication with a family member or person indicated by him. During the custody hearings held, the defenders also observed a large number of deficient arrest records, that is, not accompanied by the documentation indicated in article 304 et seq. forensic examination.

Points observed by the DPU

Joint Human Rights Monitoring Report:


Paulo Figueiredo Filho
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