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Brazil 'needs its own Guantanamo,' says Bolsonaro ally

New Rio de Janeiro state governor Wilson Witzel, who took office this week as part of an electoral wave favoring far-right politicians that elevated Bolsonaro to the presidency, is given to making controversial statements
New Rio de Janeiro state governor Wilson Witzel, who took office this week as part of an electoral wave favoring far-right politicians that elevated Bolsonaro to the presidency, is given to making controversial statements AFP
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Brasília (AFP)

Brazil "needs its own Guantanamo" to lock up criminals, Rio de Janeiro's state governor Wilson Witzel, an ally of new far-right President Jair Bolsonaro, said Thursday, referring to the US military base in Cuba used as an extraterritorial prison.

"We need to put terrorists in places where society is completely free of them," Witzel said in a speech to police in the city of Rio.

The new governor, who took office this week as part of an electoral wave favoring far-right politicians that elevated Bolsonaro to the presidency, is given to making controversial statements.

For instance, just after being elected in October last year, he suggested police snipers could kill armed "criminals" -- including anybody spotted carrying weapons, even if no-one was being threatened.

He and Bolsonaro have pledged to crack down on crime that is plaguing Brazil. The country in 2017 recorded nearly 64,000 murders.

With his Guantanamo comment, Witzel was referring to a US military base leased from Cuba where suspects from America's "war on terror" launched after the attacks of September 11, 2001 are kept in a sort of detention limbo, without access to the US legal system.

The detention center has been criticized for violating human rights and due process.

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