The stench of rotting flesh coming from the tiny, cramped cell overpowered him. This was the smell of torture.
As soon he set one foot inside the small room at a police detention centre in Nigeria’s capital, Abuja, Forensic Doctor Duarte Vieira was shocked. He had never seen anything as bad – and he had seen plenty.
Amongst the 45 men, women and children held in a space originally built for six people, he saw a man with a rotting bullet wound on his foot. And then another. And a third one.
The wound on the ankle of a fourth man had gone untreated for so long that his foot was literally decomposing; attached to the leg by a thread of skin.
Dr. Vieira immediately knew this was a form of torture used to punish prisoners.
“I never thought I was going to see anything like that in a living human being. People were shot on their feet before being interrogated as a way of showing them what to expect next,” he told Amnesty International.