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Prosecutors probe top secret seal on highway police “torture” case

secret seal highway police torture Silvinei Vasques, the Federal Highway Police chief. Photo: Fabio Rodrigues Pozzebom/ABr
Silvinei Vasques, the Federal Highway Police chief. Photo: Fabio Rodrigues Pozzebom/ABr

Brazil’s Federal Prosecution Office is investigating why the Federal Highway Police (PRF) placed a 100-year seal on administrative proceedings involving officers from the corporation whose actions resulted in the death of a 38-year-old man during a routine police procedure.

At the end of May, PRF agents pulled over Genivaldo de Jesus Santos for riding a motorcycle without a helmet on the BR-101 highway in the northeastern state of Sergipe. Instead of applying the customary fine for such an infraction, officers bundled Mr. Santos into the tailgate of their squad car and threw tear gas canisters inside, suffocating the man to death.

The entire act was filmed by bystanders, who looked on agape.

News website Metrópoles requested access to the administrative proceedings against the five officers involved, but were told by the PRF that the case records constitute “personal information” — which means they can be sealed for a period of 100 years.

Brazil’s Access to Information law states that “personal information relating to an individual’s intimate private life, honor, or personal image” can be kept confidential for the maximum 100-year term — however, proceedings involving the professional work of public servants cannot be placed under that umbrella.

Federal prosecutors in Sergipe will now monitor the case and undertake their investigation.