Home Today's Paper Most Popular Video Gallery Photo Gallery
Subscription Blog Signin Register
Logo
Wednesday, September 19, 2018 02:28:16 AM
Follow Us On: Facebook Twitter Twitter Twitter Twitter

When the state literally invades our bodies

By
10th-May-2014       
Comments
Share your thought
Post a comment »
Read all () »

Valdenor Junior :
Brazil is a violent country. A sizable part of the population experiences many aggressions in its streets. However, violence in Brazil is present in prisons too. There, it can take very subtle forms, which very few people - except those who suffer from it - come to know about. Among these subtle forms of violence are the "vexatious searches." On April 23, Rede Justiça Criminal launched a national campaign against vexatious searches in prisons.
The campaign's website splash page warns us: "This campaign contains offensive language, and dramatizations are based on real accounts from the victims." When we proceed, there is a new warning: "Close your eyes, put on a headset and feel the victims' pain." The stories are very moving. They speak of women and children who went to visit their incarcerated family members and had to strip and spread their genitalia open as well as squat three times before being allowed in the prison. "We can't see inside. Open your vagina with your hands. There, that way I can see it properly," a prison officer says in one of the accounts.
In a handwritten letter publicized by Rede Justiça Criminal, a woman denounces what happens in a São Paulo penitentiary:
We suffered constant humiliation and embarrassment; we had to pry our intimate parts open with our hands, lift our legs and rest them on the counter, put the finger in, crawl on all fours, and (…) if we are having our period, we cannot visit our relatives.
The institution defines vexatious searches as the "procedure to which people are submitted when they visit their family members in prison. This practice is known as vexatious search exactly because of its humiliating and abusive character. These people, children, adults, or elders, are required to take off their clothes, squat several times, and often have their genitals inspected (with no attention to hygiene whatsoever)."
Rede Justiça Criminal also notes that it is a harsh reality that approximately half a million people weekly in Brazil endure, while its effectiveness to prevent the entry of drugs or cell phones in the penal institutions is debatable: According to a survey, only .03% of the people searched in São Paulo penitentiaries are ever caught holding banned items. It affects disproportionately adult women, who make up 70% of the searched.
Researchers Raquel Lima and Amanda Oi also stress that the practice's perceived legitimacy distorts the officer's view of the situation:
And … those women who cry, try to cover their body with their hands, or demand their rights to be respected are treated as undisciplined and not as people reacting instinctively to an act of violence. Many end up being punished with loss of visiting privileges for at least 30 days, under the justification that they slow down work by the prison personnel.
We should not be surprised: Obedience to authority is an instrument of psychological desensitizing, as described by Milgram's famous experiment. Without a culture of questioning power, there can be no respect to basic individual rights.
For that reason, the group calls for the approval of a new law which would forbid this practice (nowadays it's left to each state to regulate it) and propose, as an alternative, the so-called "humanized search," already employed in the state of Goiás.
A large public debate was needed about the subject in Goiás so that it would enact change. It was spurred by the publication by the Public Prosecution of a video in 2010 called "Vexatious Search - Visiting a Brazilian Prison." According to prosecutor Harold Caetano da Silva, it was brought about by the "courage of a woman who allowed filming of her search under the old system and was willing to denounce, even if it meant exposing her own body, the abject institutional violence committed by the State of Goiás against the people, mainly women, of all ages, that experience the duress of having a relative, friend or partner convicted and incarcerated."
As David Schmidtz and Jason Brennan pointed out, the existence of civil rights, and even the existence of a libertarian society, depends on a culture of freedom and individuality, where specific heroic acts are catalysts for change. Despite the human tendency to social conformity, the example of someone who rebels against an unjust rule makes it easier for other people to question it, creating a new opposing trend. The example of this woman in Goiás is firmly within this social dynamic, bringing about change that prevented many people from going through the same situation as her.
Prisoners' families should not be penalized by vexatious searches. It is necessary to liberate Brazilians from yet another state violence. As libertarians, we cannot tolerate it if we ever want to live in a free society.

Tariff
Add Rate

News Archive

Inside The New Nation

Editorial »

We welcome Islamabad for awarding Bangladeshi-origin refugees Pakistan`s nationality


PAKISTAN government has decided to grant nationality to all Pakistan-born refugees of Bangladeshi and Afghan origins staying there for decades. Prime Minister Mr Imran Khan on Sunday made this announcement during his maiden visit to Karachi, saying the Bangladeshi and Afghan refugees who were born in Pakistan would get National ...

Sports »

Argentina's Facundo Conte (left) and teammate Alexis Gonzalez celebrate during the Men's World Championships' volleyball match between Argentina and Slovenia, in Florence, Italy on Monday.


Football »

FIFA president Infantino has doubts about La Liga match in Miami


AFP, Barcelona :FIFA president Gianni Infantino has expressed concern about La Liga's proposal to stage a fixture between Girona and Barcelona in the United States.The two clubs have each approved a request submitted to the Spanish Football Federation for the match to be played at the Hard Rock Stadium in ...

Entertainment »

Annie Sekhon all set to shine in Bollywood


Actress Annie Sekhon who has worked in many television shows and Punjabi films is having the time of her life. Off late she's been enjoying the success of her latest Punjabi film, 'Punjab Singh' opposite Gurjind Maan. The hangover of this film hasn't even faded yet and she's taking a ...

Entertainment »

2018 Emmy winners list


Best Drama Series: Game of ThronesBest Comedy Series: The Marvelous Mrs. MaiselBest Actor, Drama Series: Matthew Rhys, The AmericansBest Actress, Drama Series: Claire Foy, The CrownBest Supporting Actor, Drama Series: Peter Dinklage, Game of ThronesBest Supporting Actress, Drama Series: Thandie Newton, WestworldBest Writing, Drama Series: Joel Fields and Joe Weisberg, ...

Business & Economy »

Md. Momin Ud Dowlah, Chairman and Managing Director of Eon Group of Industries Limited, inaugurating its 18th anniversary celebrating programme by cutting cake at Eon Convention Center in the city on Sunday. Major ABA Mesbah Ud Dowlah, Vice-Chairman, ABA Shahid Ud Dowlah, Executive Director, Sayeeda Dowla, Director and Dr. Tamim Ud Dowlah, Group Director were also present.


City »

BNP Standing Committee Member Barrister Moudud Ahmed speaking at a discussion on 'Voting Rights-Fair Justice and Human Rights: Present Bangladesh' organised by Bangladesh Jatiya Manobadhikar Parishad at the Jatiya Press Club on Tuesday.


International »

US slashes refugee admissions to 30,000 for 2019


Reuters, Washington :U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Monday the United States would cap the number of refugees allowed into the country at 30,000 for fiscal year 2019, a sharp drop from a limit of 45,000 it set for 2018."We proposed resettling up to 30,000 refugees under the ...

Editorial »

Journalists` concern for free speech should not be ignored


EDITORS' Council on Saturday expressed its surprise, dissatisfaction, and shock at the final report of a parliamentary standing committee on the draft Digital Security Act which totally ignored the concerns expressed by journalists. Following disapproval from journalists, rights campaigners and foreign diplomats in Dhaka, the Law Minister earlier had admitted ...

Sports »

Japan's Osaka blames US Open tears on 'notorious' nerves


AFP, Tokyo :Naomi Osaka has put her US Open tears down to shredded nerves and her natural awkwardness, rather than the tantrum thrown by Serena Williams that overshadowed a historic Japanese win.The 20-year-old melted hearts when she burst into sobs as boos rang out following her emphatic 6-2, 6-4 thrashing ...

International »

Floodwaters rise as killer storm stalks southeastern US


AFP :Catastrophic floods raised the threat of landslides and dam failures across the southeastern United States on Monday, prolonging the agony caused by a killer hurricane that has left more than a dozen people dead and caused billions of dollars in damage.Downgraded to a tropical depression, Florence crept over South ...

International »

Imran Khan pledges citizenship to Afghan and Bangladeshi refugees


Al Jazeera News :Karachi, Pakistan - Prime Minister Imran Khan has pledged to implement existing Pakistani laws that would grant citizenship to all Afghan and Bangladeshi refugees who were born on Pakistani soil, a major departure from previous policy.Pakistan is home to more than 1.39 million registered Afghan refugees, according ...

City »

BNP Standing Committee Member Barrister Moudud Ahmed speaking at a protest rally organised by Nasir Uddin Ahmed Pintu Smriti Sangsad at the Jatiya Press Club on Monday demanding release of BNP Chief Begum Khaleda Zia and other leaders of the party.


Entertainment »

Radhika Apte turns adviser for AndhaDhun director


AndhaDhun director, Sriram Raghavan holds Radhika’s opinion in high regard when it comes to working on a project. Radhika being an omnipresent character in the entertainment world, the filmmaker feels that seeking advice from the actress always works in favor of him. According to sources, Sriram Raghavan said, “Since Radhika ...

Editorial »

DUCSU election is desirable but subservient party politics must end


ACADEMICS and former student leaders have emphasised favourable environment and immediate announcement of schedule to hold the long-awaited election to Dhaka University Central Student Union (DUCSU). While Dhaka University authorities initiated a discussion with student organisations over the issue yesterday, the participants welcoming the DU's move pointed out that flexing ...

 
Items that you save may be read at any time on your computer, iPad, iPhone or Android devices.
 
Are you new to our website? Do you have already an account at our website?
Create An Account Log in here
Email this news to a friend or like someone
Email:
Write a comment to this news