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Police arrest suspects for keeping patients in conditions analogous to slavery in Rio


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Ten people in a situation analogous to slavery were rescued from an illegal rehabilitation clinic in Magé, Baixada Fluminense. The Civil Police arrived at the scene, this Thursday (27), after an anonymous complaint. Among the victims were the elderly, HIV carriers and drug addicts who shared the premises without minimal hygiene conditions.

Two men were arrested red handed. Gilberto Cabral Leão, who claims to be a pastor, is said to be the owner of the property along with his wife, who was not there. Cristiano Santos da Silva acted as the clinic manager.

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Delegate João Garcia, from the 65th DP, told the Sheet that the suspects “claimed that they treated all the patients very well”. The prisoners, who still do not have lawyers, were sent to the prison system and are available to the courts. The pastor’s wife has not yet been located by the police.

The agents went to the scene after receiving information from the Dial-Denunciation. There, they found that the clinic does not have a license to operate. Police officers still found an illegal power connection in the property during the expertise.

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The police visit took place with the support of the Magé health surveillance, which found more than 10 types of irregularities. Images taken by the police show the interior of the house.

In one of the rooms, there were dirty mattresses and sheets, the walls moldy with stains of dirt and, in some parts, with broken plaster. The space where a kitchen functioned had no windows or door; there was a rusty refrigerator with dark spots on the inside, and a few pots and pans, and leftover food.

According to Police Chief João Garcia, everyone was obliged to work on site and paid to stay in the shelter.

“They were forced to work to have the right to minimum survival conditions, and no rehabilitation clinic does that. We can also typify in this situation the crime of torture, which also occurs when a person is kept in intense physical and mental suffering, which was the case. All of this will be investigated,” he said.

In addition, the victims’ documents were withheld and falsified by the owners of the ‘clinic’ which kept the money from the inmates’ benefits.

The victims also reported to the police that they were prevented from leaving the residence and making contact with their family members. “If they disobeyed the orders of the administrators, the patients lost the right to eat and were locked in a room in sub-human conditions”, said the delegate.

The inmates were taken to the municipal hospital for examination. After medical evaluation, patients will be forwarded to a city hall shelter.

The investigation of the case continues at the 65th DP, in Magé.

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