Rio police hunt six gang rape suspects

Rio de Janeiro (AFP) –


Rio police hunted six suspects Monday in an alleged gang rape of a 16-year-old girl that came to light last week in an online video, shocking Brazil.

Globo television showed footage of police outside a house in a favela in the west of Rio de Janeiro, which will host the Olympics in August. They were reported to be searching for six of the more than 30 men allegedly involved in the assault on the girl.

Among the suspects was a promising 20-year-old football player described as the alleged victim's boyfriend and also the man who has admitted taking the video in which the girl is shown naked and seemingly unconscious on a bed after the alleged mass rape.

The others include two men accused of distributing the images, another man who grinned in a selfie taken next to the naked girl, and a man described as a drug trafficker, G1 news site reported.

Heavily armed police have been raiding different favelas since the video, in which a voice is heard saying that the girl has been "impregnated" by more than 30 men, went online Wednesday. The incident itself reportedly took place May 21.

Police were to hold a news conference later Monday, promising to address conflicting information in a case that drew condemnations from suspended president Dilma Rousseff and acting president Michel Temer.

Police changed the lead investigator Sunday at the request of the girl's lawyer, Eloisa Samy.

The girl, who has been moved by police to an undisclosed location, told Globo television that the investigator, Alessandro Thiers, had made her uncomfortable.

"He blamed me," she said. "I think this is why many women don't come forward. They were trying to incriminate me, as if I were to blame for being raped."

Her case is now with Cristina Bento, head of the police child protection unit.

However, the head of the civil police force, Fernando Veloso, told Globo television on Sunday that he had doubts about the girl's story.

Despite what appears to be blood coming from the girl's genital area in the video, Veloso says: "There are no traces of blood that you can see on the images that were recorded."

"The report will come up with some points that in a certain way contradict the point of view that is being formed by people who have nothing to do with the video," he said.

Police say the girl only made her complaint four days after the alleged attack.

Hundreds of demonstrators gathered in downtown Rio on Friday night waving signs saying "Machismo kills" and "No means no."

In Sao Paulo, protesters erected a mural with messages including "My body is not yours," and "I like to wear necklines, that's not an invitation to rape me."