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Brazilian Justice Minister: Our Jails Are Worse Than Death



SÃO PAULO - Brazilian Justice Minister José Eduardo Cardozo has sparked controversy by describing the nation's prison system as “medieval” and declaring that he would prefer to die rather than pass a long period in Brazilian jails.

Brazil's Fohla de S. Paulo daily reported the statement, which was made at an event this week in São Paulo, one day after the Supreme Court sentenced a former senior presidential official José Dirceu to 10 years in prison on corruption charges.

Cardozo's comments came in response to a question about re-introducing the death penalty in Brazil. “If I was to stay many years in some of our prisons, I’d rather die”, he said.

The minister added that the Brazilian penal system does not succeed in rehabilitating criminals. “Those who get there as first-time petty criminals often leave as members of large criminal organizations,” he said.

Data from the Ministry of Justice shows that last year there were 471,000 people in Brazilian prisons for just 295,000 places. According to specialists, one of the main reasons is the high number of temporary prisoners waiting for trial. About 37% of the total amount face such conditions.

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FOCUS: Israel-Palestine War

Wartime And Settlements: Preview Of Israel's Post-Netanyahu Era

Heated debate in Israel and abroad over the increase in the budget for settlements in the occupied West Bank is a reminder that wartime national unity will not outlast a deep ideological divide.

photo of people in a road with an israeli flag

A July photo of Jewish settlers in Nablus, West Bank.

Nasser Ishtayeh/SOPA Images via ZUMA
Pierre Haski


PARIS — During wartime, the most divisive issues are generally avoided. Not in Israel though, where national unity does not prevent ideological divisions from breaking through into the public space.

Benny Gantz, a longtime Benjamin Netanyahu nemesis, who became a member of the War Cabinet after October 7, criticized the government's draft budget on Monday. It may sound trivial, but his target was the increased spending allocated for Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank. Gantz felt that all resources should go towards the war effort or supporting the suffering economy — not the settlers.

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The affair did not go unnoticed internationally. Josep Borrell, the European High Representative for Foreign Policy, said that he was "appalled" by this spending on settlers in the middle of this war.

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