10 Dec 2009

Police killings in Brazil top 11,000 - claim

6:01 am on 10 December 2009

A human rights group is accusing the police in Brazil's two biggest cities of killing more than 11,000 people in the past six years.

Human Rights Watch says officers in Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo often operated outside the law, and covered up killings by pretending they were acts of self defence.

However, officials argue the police face often well-armed drug gangs.

The BBC reports there were more police killings over the past five years in Sao Paulo (2,176) than in South Africa, which has a higher murder rate.