Crime

VICE News

SÃO PAULO — Eduardo Cunha — the speaker of Brazil’s lower house of Congress, who is also the nemesis of the country’s president whom he wants to see impeached — did not have a good Tuesday.

The day began with police cars surrounding Cunha’s official residence in Brasília in the latest phase of a criminal investigation into the country’s biggest-ever corruption scandal. Police said they were executing 53 search-and-seizure warrants to “avoid important evidence being destroyed by those under investigation.”

It was later reported that the warrants were related to a new Supreme Court inquiry into whether Cunha had abused his position to obstruct the vast corruption probe.

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VICE News

SÃO PAULO — Activists in Brazil say a proposed law defining terrorism will criminalize protest movements, including those looking to use media attention on the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro to highlight social injustices and push for reforms.

The bill, authored by President Dilma Rousseff’s office, was amended on its way through the lower house of Congress to add specific exemptions for social movements, but these were removed when it sailed through the Senate last week. It now heads back for a final reading by Brazil’s deputies, and would require final approval by the president.

Supporters of the bill argue Brazil needs legislation to define and fight terrorism, though experts charge that the move stems from pressure from the U.S.-led anti-terrorism body — the Financial Action Task Force, or FATF — amid fears of sanctions that could exacerbate the country’s recession.

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VICE News

SÃO PAULO — Prisons controlled by criminal gangs rather than guards and filled with moldy and windowless cells stinking of urine and feces in which dozens of men are forced to compete for floor space on which to sleep — life for inmates in Brazil’s state of Pernambuco amounts to a “human rights disaster,” according to a new report released on Tuesday.

The report was compiled by the US-based group Human Rights Watch (HRW) that visited four prisons and interviewed past and current prisoners, their families, and security officials in the poverty stricken northeastern state.

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VICE News

SÃO PAULO — São Paulo military police have arrested an officer who was caught on camera this week firing at two teenage suspects who had fallen to the ground from a stolen motorcycle following a dangerous pursuit through the streets of Brazil’s biggest city.

It was meant to be a week when police in São Paulo State celebrated new figures that showed the lowest number of homicides on record, but the shocking end to a police chase in the south of São Paulo city — caught live from TV helicopters — quickly put paid to that.

Footage from the chase, which was broadcast live on the channels TV Bandeirantes and Record, shows a military police officer firing at and wounding the two teenagers, aged 16 and 17, at near-point-blank range after the pursuit ends abruptly.

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VICE News

SÃO PAULO — Firearms are responsible for 116 deaths every day in Brazil, according to a new study — a rate of nearly five people every hour.

The Map of Violence 2015, which UNESCO published this week in partnership with the Latin American Faculty of Social Sciences and the Brazilian government, calculated that gun violence ended a staggering 42,416 lives in 2012 alone, the most recent year with comprehensive data.

The national mortality rate of 21.9 gun-related fatalities per 100,000 inhabitants — of which nearly 95 percent are homicides, while the balance includes suicides, accidents, and unexplained cases — is the second highest ever recorded in the annual study’s 35-year history.

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VICE News

SÃO PAULO — Brazil’s hideously overcrowded prisons see frequent outbursts of extreme violence and murders, and are infamous for being in the stranglehold of sophisticated criminal gangs that are capable of orchestrating anything from synchronized mutinies to contract killings from inside their cells.

The country’s prison population is so vast and the authorities’ ability to contain it so stretched, the lack of security at some penitentiaries is almost surreal.

This week it emerged that inmates at a jail in Piauí, one of Brazil’s most impoverished states, are regularly slipping out to go on late-night crime sprees, robbing locals of a wish list of items banned in prison.

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Anadolu Agency

SÃO PAULO — Members of the world surfing community paid tribute on Wednesday to popular Brazilian surfer Ricardo dos Santos, who died of gunshot wounds a day earlier.

Dos Santos, 24, was shot three times on Monday by an off-duty military police officer outside his house in Palhoça, near Florianópolis in the southern Brazilian state of Santa Catarina.

Despite four operations, he died of his injuries on Tuesday afternoon.

Conflicting reports have surfaced about the cause of the altercation between the surfer, the officer and another man, reportedly the officer’s brother.

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Mashable

SÃO PAULO — Police in Brazil have arrested a man they say has confessed to killing at least 39 people in a four-year killing spree in the central-western state of Goiás.

Tiago Henrique Gomes da Rocha, a 26-year-old security guard at a hospital, was arrested on Tuesday in the state capital city, Goiânia, and has, according to police, confessed to at least 39 murders which targeted women, sex workers, gay people and homeless people.

Local police chief Deusny Aparecido, who headed a task force investigating at least 15 murders over the past two months, described the suspected serial killer as a “cold” person.

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