Impunity - Brazil

WHEREAS Marcone Sarmento, charged with involvement in the January 14, 1998 murder of Manoel Leal de Oliveira in Itabuna, Bahía, was acquitted in December 2005; the prosecution filed an appeal, which is still pending; Mozart Brasil, another defendant in the case, was sentenced to 18 years in prison but was freed following a habeas corpus hearing and is now free pending his appeal; the mastermind has not been identified, and the prosecution believes that the police investigation has not yielded sufficient evidence to identify the mastermind; the investigation at the state level is not going well, possibly because police officers and politicians are involved with the masterminds WHEREAS the judge is to decide whether to admit the complaint and submit it to the court to have former Eunápolis mayor Paulo Dapé and staff members Maria José Ferreira Souza (“Maria Sindoiá”), Waldemir Batista de Oliveira (“Dudu”), and Antônio Oliveira Santos (“Toninho da Caixa”) tried for killing radio journalist Ronaldo Santana de Araújo on October 9, 1997 in Eunápolis, Bahía; there have been several attempts to postpone the trial, and the defendants can still appeal the judge’s ruling; Paulo Sérgio Mendes Lima, also charged with carrying out the murder, was sentenced to 19 years in prison on November 23, 2002 and said Paulo Dapé had arranged the murder WHEREAS the investigation into the killing of Nivanildo Barbosa Lima, whose body was found in Paulo Alfonso Dam on July 22, 1995, was reopened; further work was done on the case, including by the Public Prosecutor’s Office; and the case is now before the court for the judge to review WHEREAS the primary defendant in the August 16, 2001 murder of Mário Coelho de Almeida in Magé, Rio de Janeiro was former councilman Genivaldo Ferreira Nogueira, who was acquitted on June 30, 2005 due to a lack of evidence; the mastermind behind the murder has yet to be convicted; the other defendant, Reynaldo Polary Stumpf, was at large for a long time but is now behind bars; the judge convicted and sentenced him, but his lawyer has appealed WHEREAS of those people charged in the July 5, 1989 murder of society columnist Maria Nilce Magalhães in Vitória, Espírito Santo, Marcos Egydio Costa was sentenced to nine years in prison without parole and José Alayr Andreatta, to 14 years in prison without parole, while Romualdo Eustáquio da Luz Faria and César Narcizo da Silva are scheduled for trial on December 11, 2006; the trial of the other defendant, police officer Charles Roberto Lisboa, was stayed because he was found to be mentally ill; however, the new prosecutor in the case will ask that this decision be reviewed because she does not agree with it and she believes there were numerous irregularities in the investigation WHEREAS the investigation into the October 29, 1997 murder of Edgar Lopes de Faria (aka Escaramuça) in Campo Grande, Mato Grosso do Sul, was set aside on January 31, 2006 at the request of the Public Prosecutor’s Office after André Matsushita Gonçalves, a police captain assigned to the special organized crime unit (UNICOC), completed his investigation WHEREAS the mastermind who ordered the March 10, 1998 murder of radio journalist José Carlos Mesquita in Ouro Preto do Oeste, Rondônia has never been identified; one person is in custody, while other suspects are dead or have disappeared; neither the police nor prosecutors have new leads in the case WHEREAS radio journalist José Wellington Fernandes, aka Zezinho Cazuza, was killed on March 13, 2000 in Canindé de São Francisco, Sergipe, and the primary suspect, former mayor Genivaldo Galindo da Silva is in custody for unrelated administrative cases; his trial for the Cazuza murder will begin on February 13, 2007 in the city of Propriá (the venue was changed to guard against outside pressures) WHEREAS Fernando Mariano da Silva Filho, Marcelo de Melo, and Helton Jonas Gonçalves de Oliveira were charged with aggravated murder in the April 24, 2004 killing of radio journalist José Carlos Araújo in Timbaúba, Pernambuco, but Oliveira is the only one of the three defendants who is in custody, with the other two still at large; Oliveira’s trial is to be moved to the provincial capital, Recife, but this change of venue was not confirmed until September 18, 2006 WHEREAS the police identified eight people involved in the June 30, 2003 murder of radio journalist Nicanor Linhares Batista in Limoeiro do Norte, Ceará, and the case is awaiting the judge’s decision as to whether the defendants are to be tried by jury; the prosecutor in Limoeiro do Norte, Alexandre Pontes Aragão, submitted an addendum to the complaint against former Mayor Arivan Lucena, who is charged with masterminding the murder, but the trial was suspended by the court while it determines whether Judge José Maria Lucena, the husband of Arivan, was involved WHEREAS of the nine people believed to have been involved in the April 2004 murder of journalist Samuel Román in Coronel Sapucaia, Mato Grosso do Sul, the court pressed upheld the charges against Cleyton de Andrade Segovia, former Mayor Eurico Mariano (who is charged with masterminding the murder), and Alfredo Rui Dias Arevalos; all of the defendants have appealed and their appeal is still pending; Segovia was freed following a habeas corpus hearing and fled; and the other suspects could not even be charged because either their whereabouts are unknown or they are dead WHEREAS Aristeu Guida da Silva was murdered on May 12, 1995 in São Fidélis, Rio de Janeiro, and Vladimir Rainieri Pereira Sobrosa, charged with carrying out the murder, was sentenced to 28 years in prison in April 2002; he appealed the verdict and was retried, but his attorneys had the trial stayed on the grounds that a witness was missing; two other defendants, one of whom is a police officer, remain at large; and there have been no further developments in the trial since 2002 WHEREAS in the investigation into the murder of radio journalist Jorge Vieira da Costa, who was killed in March 2001 in Timon, Maranhão, witnesses were pressured and the prosecutor noted errors; three people were convicted of carrying out the crime, but they appealed and the court is now hearing their appeal; three people charged with masterminding the murder managed to obstruct the proceedings; the prosecution filed an appeal with the Superior Court, but this appeal is still pending; and the person charged with killing Vieira was arrested for another crime in Teresina WHEREAS Domingos Sávio Brandão de Lima, owner of the daily Folha do Estado of Mato Grosso and the radio station Cidade de Cuiabá FM, was murdered on September 30, 2002, and the perpetrators were convicted; the mastermind, João Arcanjo Ribeiro, who is allegedly an organized crime boss, was extradited from Uruguay to Brazil and is being held at the Pascoal Ramos Penitentiary; the judge will soon hear final arguments to decide whether the case will be brought to trial; former military policeman Célio Alves de Souza, who was convicted in June 2005 to 17 years and six months in prison for his involvement in the murder, escaped from the same prison on July 24, 2005 and remains at large. WHEREAS the investigation into the August 29, 1995 murder of journalist Reinaldo Coutinho da Silva in São Gonçalo, Rio de Janeiro was on hold for a long time until prosecutor Rubem Vianna decided to follow another lead; and there has been more than one change in the prosecutors assigned to the case WHEREAS the investigation into the July 11, 2004 murder of radio journalist Jorge Lourenço dos Santos in Santana do Ipanema, Alagoas was transferred by the Public Prosecutor’s Office to the regional police station in 2005, and the regional police was asked to work further on the case; but the station has a new captain, witnesses are hard to find, no new leads have emerged, and as a result the case is at a virtual standstill WHEREAS Principle 4 of the Declaration of Chapultepec states: “Freedom of expression and of the press are severely limited by murder, terrorism, kidnapping, intimidation, the unjust imprisonment of journalists, the destruction of facilities, violence of any kind and impunity for perpetrators. Such acts must be investigated promptly and punished harshly” THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE IAPA RESOLVES to ask the federal government to have federal police take over investigations into crimes against journalists, as these murders are generally in retaliation for reporting by journalists in their respective cities and the investigations may be subject to local pressure and interference to request that the Witness Protection Program be improved and expanded, as it currently places witnesses in extremely vulnerable conditions, and thus many opt out of the program to demand that police and the courts not limit their investigations to identifying and arresting gunmen and intermediaries, but that they also include the masterminds who ordered the crimes to ask the Public Safety Department in each state to take the steps needed to prevent those people involved in these crimes from fleeing to ask the members of the public prosecutor’s office in each state to devote effort to following up on investigations and see that further work is done to identify the culprits and ensure that trials proceed without being interrupted every time there is a new prosecutor or police captain.