Home Today's Paper Most Popular Video Gallery Photo Gallery
Subscription Blog Signin Register
Logo
Wednesday, June 20, 2018 03:19:49 PM
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 »

Death of another prosecution witness : Too difficult to accept as an accident


NO sooner had the Eid vacation come to an end but another murder shocked us all. The decapitated body of Sumon Zahid, a witness in a war crimes case and also the son of martyred journalist Selina Parvin was found dead in the capital's Khilgaon the day before yesterday. There ...

Business & Economy »

A delegation headed by Farzana Chowdhury, CEO of Green Delta Insurance makes a courtesy call with Dr. M Khairul Hossain, the newly appointed Chairman of Security Exchange Commission recently. Additional Managing Director and Company Secretary Syed Moinuddin Ahmed and Deputy Managing Director Wafi S M Khan of the company were also present.


Football »

England beat Tunisia 2-1


AFP, Volgograd :Captain Harry Kane came to the rescue with two goals, the second a dramatic injury-time winner, as England began their World Cup Group G campaign with a stuttering 2-1 win over Tunisia on Monday.  Gareth Southgate's men almost paid a heavy price for missing a slew of first-half ...

Football »

Harry Kane : England's new prince


AFP, Volgograd :Harry Kane rose emphatically to the World Cup challenge in England's opening match against Tunisia, scoring a last-gasp winner to give Gareth Southgate's side lift-off in Russia.It was a remarkable World Cup debut for Kane, who bore the added pressure of the captain's armband and the weight of ...

Entertainment »

I`m indebted to J.P. Dutta for life : Pooja Bhatt


Actress-filmmaker Pooja Bhatt said she is indebted to veteran director J.P. Dutta for not only making her a part of 'Border' but also for encouraging her to never change. 'Border' on Wednesday completed 21 years of its release and Pooja took to Twitter to thank Dutta for casting her in ...

International »

US won`t be made a migrant camp


President Donald Trump vowed on Monday that the United States would not become a "migrant camp" as he faced mounting pressure to stop families being separated as a deterrent to illegal immigration."The United States will not be a migrant camp, and it will not be a refugee holding facility," Trump ...

City »

Pedestrians passing through a muddy road as the authority concerned does not repair the road for long time. The snap was taken from Bibir Bagicha area in the city's Jatrabari on Tuesday.


Editorial »

Save the flood victims and take adequate measures for post-flood rehabilitation


INCESSANT rainfall in the last few days has triggered floods in the country's East and South East districts. Thousands of people of Moulvibazar, Habiganj, Feni and Chattogram districts have been marooned as floodwater crawled to inundate their homestead and damage crops and livestock. The New Nation recently reported that Khowai, ...

Football »

A Mexico soccer fan celebrates her team victory against Germany after their group F match at the 2018 soccer World Cup in the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow, Russia on Sunday.


Sports »

Federer wins 98th ATP title in Stuttgart


AFP, Germany :Roger Federer claimed his 98th ATP title on Sunday with a 6-4, 7-6 (7/3) defeat of Milos Raonic in the grass-court Stuttgart Cup final.The Swiss great, who will be chasing a ninth Wimbledon triumph next month, beat his Canadian opponent for the 11th time in 14 meetings while ...

International »

US policy on migrant kids `unconscionable`: UN rights chief


AP, Geneva :The U.N. human rights chief is urging the Trump administration to end new policies separating migrant children from their parents after entering the United States from Mexico, saying they've affected nearly 2,000 kids in the last six weeks.Zeid Ra'ad al-Hussein says it's "unconscionable" that any country would seek ...

International »

Family separation policy starts dividing Republicans


AP, Washington :The emotional policy of separating children from their parents is also starting to divide Republicans and their allies as Democrats turn up the pressure.Former first lady Laura Bush called the policy "cruel" and "immoral" while GOP Sen. Susan Collins expressed concern about it and a former adviser to ...

City »

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina exchanging pleasantries with diplomats at Ganabhaban in the city on Saturday on the occasion of holy Eid-ul-Fitr.


Editorial »

Eid Mubarak


EID UL FITR is an important religious event celebrated by Muslims worldwide that marks the end of Ramadan, the Islamic holy month of fasting (sawm). The Eid (Muslim religious festival) is the first and only day in the month of Shawal during which Muslims are not permitted to fast. The ...

Cricket »

History-making Afghanistan get baptism of fire in Test cricket


AFP, Bangalore :Afghanistan were handed a bruising introduction to Test cricket by India on Thursday as they capped their astonishing rise from war and refugee camps to joining the sport's elite.Afghan skipper Asghar Stanikzai called it a "very proud moment" as he strode onto the field at Bangalore's M. Chinnaswamy ...

 
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