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Source: O Globo.

RIO – Arrested by military police without documents on the morning of July 18 in Leblon — scene of one of the most violent demonstrations in Rio, near the residence of Governor Sérgio Cabral — a married couple, the  geographers Igor Pouchain Matela and Carla Hirt, were taken to the 14th Precinct, which serves the area.

Carla was detained as she was allegedly throwing stones at the display window of a shop. Igor was arrested for contempt.

The case might have been just  one more incident occurring behind the scenes of the demonstrations were it not for one detail: according to police on duty that day, the couple identified themselves as agents of ABIN,the Brazilian IntelligenceAgency, and said they were working as infiltrators. The special commission on vandalism (CEIV) and the state judicial police (PC) are looking intothe matter.

ABIN has not prepared a press release on the incident yet.

The PC told O Globo that Igor e Carla introduced themselves as Abin agents upon arrival at the precinct. They also said, according to the report prepared by the precinct captain , Rodolfo Waldeck, that Carla was arrested in flagrante for criminal conspiracy, while Igor was charged with contempt.

At the precinct, Igor was also charged with contempt by PC official Flávia Monteiro, shift supervisor of the day. Carla received a summons for criminal conspiracy and was set free after posting bail . The two could  not be located for comment.

According to an official note by the PC, the anti-vandalism CEIV — created after acts of vandalism during protests — will “investigate the allegation that the couple arrested on July 18 in Leblon really are members of ABIN”.

Abin denies infiltration of agents

Abin denies infiltrating agent into the Rio protests. In a note, it said it “has no knowledge of the arrest or citation of any of its agents” on July 18 or during subsequent days in Rio, explaining that “the secrecy of the names of agents is guaranteed by Lasw 9.883, dated December 1999.

I cannot locate this note.

For this reason, the publication of the names agents is forbidden, even in official public events and records.”  In the Federal Official Diary in 2008, Igor appears as a candidate for a position in the Institutional Security Unit of the Presidency, to which ABIN was subordinated at the time.

The case  of Igor and Carla arises at a delicate moment as reports emerge of infiltration by Rio police into demonstrations. This week, the state prosecutor announced that it would investigate videos posted to the social network in which police officers from the PM secret service, P-2, appear to infiltrate the Laranjeiras protest on Monday night, during the reception for Pope Francis. That same day, the PM admitted its use of the tactic, saying that police officers were merely filming, collecting evidence, and making arrests.

Infiltration is an internationally recognized practice of police intelligence agencies, but experts say there are limits: The infiltrator must confine himself to observing and collecting evidence  and passing the information along. They are not allowed to involve themselves in crimes — PMs in this case were inciting to riot and and committing violent acts themselves.

— In the absence of a specific legal framework, limits on the intelligence activities are the same general, constitutional and legal rules followed by all state agencies  — said an expert, who requested anonymity.

According to this  expert, the validity of this principle is based on  Law No. 9.034/95, which deals with operational measures for the prevention and repression of organized crime groups.

In Art. 2, Paragraph V, the law takes up the issue of  infiltration by police agents or undercover officers engaged in investigative work, backed with the authority of  the relevant specialized organs and with judicial approval.

— In theory, I would say: Judicial authorization is necessary and must define the generic limits of the operation. Under current law, although it does not cover crimes by infiltrated agents, the legal doctrine is admissible when criminal behavior is necessary to gain the trust of the group and the crime is lesser than the crime investigted.


In a July 20 interview, ABIN warned that demonstrators posed a serious threat to World Youth Day event — what are the participants if not peaceful demonstrators? — and boasted of its cyberintelligence capacity.