Imprisoned Indigenous people forced to eat raw food and suffer from the cold

Eduardo Vasco, Dourados (MS)

Nine indigenous people have been imprisoned for almost two weeks, their hair has been shaved off and they are being mistreated.

Nine indigenous people have been imprisoned since April 8, after retaking Nova Iwu Vera, in Dourados (MS). They are accused of possessory dispossession (invasion of someone else’s property), damage to property, bodily harm and possession of a firearm.

There are Guarani, Caiouá and Terena Indigenous among the prisoners. One of them is the Guarani Magno de Souza, who was a candidate for the governorship of the state of Mato Grosso do Sul by the Partido da Causa Operária (PCO) in the last elections, in 2022.

A tenth indigenous person was released while he was still at the police station. Júlio de Souza is 77 years old “I came to have a maté with my fellow friends and when I got there the police arrested us”, he tells the DCO . “I heard that those who remained in jail are suffering a lot from this cold weather, they are feeling sick”

In the early hours of this Friday, the thermal sensation reached about five degrees in Dourados, with the cold front that punishes the region.

“They are being torment,” he continues. “The Indigenous people are always being mistreated  Whoever is doing this to them wouldn’t want to be torment. Nobody wants to be torment.”

Rosalina is the wife of Valdemar, one of the indigenous people who were arrested. She says the gun charges are false and her husband was arrested on his way to work. She managed to speak with him by phone last Thursday afternoon (20).

“He said he is suffering a lot from the cold, he has no coat to wear and is barefoot”, he says. The couple has six children, including two toddlers, a four-year-old and a two-year-old. Valdemar is the provider of the family, who are now only able to support themselves with government assistance. The kids are already missing their dad, she says.

The same complaint is shared by Sandra, wife of Cacique Adelino, who is also imprisoned in the State Penitentiary of Dourados. “They are cold and hungry. They are getting raw food, raw rice, beans. Would you eat raw food? They have no blankets and sleep on the cold floor, with no mattress and nothing.”

The Indigenous feel humiliated, as they also had their heads shaved when they arrived at the prison. The prison requires them to have black pants, a white shirt, sandals, a blanket and a mattress, but does not provide them. Therefore, families are looking for donations, because the indigenous people have none of that.

This Saturday (22), the Indigenous from the Iwu Vera retakes will hold a demonstration demanding the freedom of their companions. The PCO sent a letter to the federal government, particularly to the Minister of Indigenous Peoples, Sônia Guajajara, and the Minister of Human Rights, Silvio de Almeida, asking them to do something to help the nine indigenous people trapped in Dourados.

Writing of the DCO
Published on: 21/04/2023

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