Belfast Telegraph

Home Sport Olympics

Former OCI president Pat Hickey has head shaved, being treated like 'any other prisoner at Bangu' - Brazilian authorities

By Cathal McMahon in Rio de Janeiro

Pat Hickey has had his head shaved and is being treated the same as "any other prisoner" at Brazil's largest jail.

The 71-year-old, who was arrested on Wednesday at his hotel in Rio de Janeiro, is currently detained at the José Frederico Marques in the Gericinó complex which is known locally as Bangu.

He was moved there in the early hours of Friday morning after being questioned by police for two hours over his alleged involvement in a ticket-touting scam at the Rio Olympics.

The State Department of Penitentiary Administration (SEAP) have confirmed that, like other inmates, Mr Hickey had his head shaved at the unit.

The SEAP reported that Mr Hickey, who temporarily stepped down as president of the Olympic Council of Ireland (OC) after his arrest on Wednesday, will have the right to receive visitors as long as they submit the required registration to enter the prison.

Mr Hickey's wife Sylviane is believed to still be in Rio.

The prison service confirmed to local media Globo News on Friday that Mr Hickey had eaten –  and was given the same meal other inmates were served in the Bangu 10 prison.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) executive will remain at the prison until Tuesday at least as the judiciary is not sitting during the course of the Olympics.

Mr Hickey had sought habeus corpus bail appeal on the grounds that his detention was unlawful. However this was rejected by a Brazilian state court on Thursday.

Ricardo Barboza de Souza, head of the Civil Police Fraud Unit, claimed that Mr Hickey was unhelpful when questioned by officers on Thursday: “We spoke to Mr Hickey for two hours," he told

"He was very evasive in his answers. He wasn't really saying anything much. He didn't say anything that led to anything. He was basically seeking his lawyer's help.

“Questioning didn't bring out anything conclusive. He made no confession.”

It is understood that Mr Hickey's lawyer was present throughout police interviews at the Instituto de Criminalista Carlos Eboli in central Rio.

The 71-year-old swapped a €220-a-night superior suite in the Windsor Marapendi for a place in one of the city's most notorious jails.

With a rooftop pool, marble floors and panoramic views of a pristine white beach, his Olympic digs at the Windsor Marapendi were the height of luxury in Rio.

Newly opened last year, the hotel offers "delicious cuisine and superb services" and is the chosen base for the International Olympic Committee (IOC) during the Games.

It sits on Barra da Tijuca beach, a short journey from the Olympic Park.

But since early on Friday, Hickey has resided in the Cadeia Pública José Frederico Marques prison, known as Bangu 10.

Last year, a report by public defenders condemned the "totally subhuman conditions" in the jail, with inmates so hungry they resorted to eating wet toilet paper.

After his arrest at the Windsor Marapendi on Wednesday, Hickey spent the night at a nearby hospital after complaining of feeling unwell. On Thursday, he was transferred to a police station to be questioned by detectives.

A judge denied him habeas corpus and he was transferred to the jail, which is part of the huge Bangu prison complex in Rio's west zone, early on Friday morning.

The Irishman Kevin James Mallon (36) who was the first person arrested in the ticket touting scandal, is being held in another prison in the same complex.

Bangu 10 was over capacity when public defenders visited last year, with 735 prisoners in space intended for only 532. But a prison spokesman said last night that there are currently only 396 inmates.

When the defenders arrived at the jail, they found an inmate with motor paralysis in pain lying on a hard board, as he did not have a mattress to sleep on. They later found a room with dozens of new mattresses stored, suggesting corruption.

Water at the jail is only turned on for a few minutes per day for washing and drinking. The larvae in the water could be seen with the naked eye. "Many prisoners told the defenders that the guards dirtied their drinking water as a kind of punishment," the defenders' report said. When food was available, it was often rotten.

"What is striking is that overcrowding causes all the other problems," said defender Roberta Fraenkel, of the Centre for the Defence of Human Rights.

A court previously ordered Hickey's preventative detention. He can appeal to be freed, or to be placed under house arrest. The latter is thought unlikely, though, as it typically requires the suspect to have a permanent residence and job in Brazil.

Irish Independent

Belfast Telegraph Digital


From Belfast Telegraph