By AFP / France 24
Rio de Janeiro (AFP) – Bodies from a Rio de Janeiro police raid that left more than 20 alleged drug traffickers dead show signs of torture and summary execution, a senior lawyer said on Thursday, the latest incident of suspected police brutality to shock the South American nation.
Police say they encountered heavy gunfire when they carried out a raid in the slum of Vila Cruzeiro on Tuesday, an operation aimed at tracking down gang leaders who were allegedly hiding out there.
Evidence from the scene has raised concerns that some of the dead were tortured and killed in cold blood, according to Rodrigo Mondego, the head of the human rights commission at Rio's Bar Association.
"We saw one body with a white powder that looked like cocaine covering its face," he told AFP. "Whoever killed this person smeared it all over his face and may have forced him to eat it. It's an act of torture."
Mondego said there were suspicions of "a large number of summary executions."
"Witnesses have told us men who had surrendered to the police were then shot in the woods" above the hillside slum, he added.