Impunity - Brazil

WHEREAS nine years after the killing of Manoel Leal de Oliveira on December 14, 1988 in Itabuna, Bahia, the masterminds have not been punished and no one has been named or investigated for ordering the crime; there are suspicions that policeman Mozart Brasil, sentenced to 18 years in prison in September of 2003 has privileges while under house arrest and should be serving his term in prison; the Public Prosecutors Office appealed the acquittal of Marcone Sarmento in December 2005, but the appeal has not yet been heard WHEREAS the Judicial Branch accepted for trial the charge against the former mayor of Eunápolis Paulo Dapé and his colleagues Maria José Ferreira Souza (Maria Sindoiá), Waldermir Batista de Oliveira (Dudú) and Antônio Oliveira Santos (Toninho da Caixa) accused of killing radio reporter Ronaldo Santana de Araújo on October 9, 1997 in Eunápolis, Bahia; they all appealed the verdict and the decision is pending; Paulo Sérgio Mendes Lima, a codefendant who was sentenced to 19 years in prison on November 23, 2002, could serve the rest of his sentence under house arrest which is of concern because he might escape; the prosecutor charged the widow of Araújo with distortion and corruption because she changed her testimony WHEREAS three people were convicted of the murder of radio reporter Jorge Vieira da Costa in March of 2001 in Timon, Maranhão, but they appealed and the decision is pending; three people accused of planning the crime managed to stall the judicial process; the Public Prosecutor’s Office appealed the case before the Brazilian Court of Appeals, but the appeal has not yet been heard; there has been excessive delay in hearing the appeals WHEREAS the investigation into the death of Nivanildo Barbosa Lima, whose body was found in Paulo Afonso dam on July 22, 1995, may be shelved because the Public Prosecutor’s Office asked for new inquiries which were not done; the police officer in charge of the case was changed more than once WHEREAS Raynaldo Polary Stumpf was sentenced to 18 years in jail for killing journalist Mário Coelho de Almeida Filho in Magé, Rio de Janeiro on August 16, 2001 and he appealed the sentence; the mastermind of the crime has not been punished, because former councilman Genivaldo Ferreira Nogeira, who was accused of ordering the crime, was acquitted on June 30, 2005 for lack of evidence; unless new information appears, the investigation to determine who was the mastermind will not be resumed WHEREAS two of the six people accused in the killing of social columnist Maria Nilce Magalhães, on July 5, 1989 in Vítoria, Espírito Santo, Marcos Egydio Costa and José Alayr Andreatta were convicted and incarcerated; Romualdo Eustáquio da Luz Faria who pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity, is free and will be evaluated by psychiatrists in January 2008 to determine if he was insane at the time of the crime; the psychiatrists consider that Charles Roberto Lisboa was not insane at the time of the crime, but now is disturbed, and for that reason the Public Prosecutor’s Office requested that he not be prosecuted but be committed to a forensic mental institution; César Narcizo da Silva was acquitted in December of 2006; the Public Prosecutor’s Office appealed the acquittal but the court has not yet decided if there will be a new trial WHEREAS the investigation of the killing of Edgar Lopes de Faria (known as Escaramuça) on October 29, 1997 in Campo Grande, Mato Grosso do Sul, was shelved on January 31, 2006 WHEREAS the name of the person responsible for the killing of radio reporter José Carlos Mesquita on March 10, 1998 in Ouro Preto do Oeste, Rondônia is not known; one person is in custody and the other suspects have disappeared or were killed; the Public Prosecutor's Office said it is very difficult to follow up on the case and get new information because the witnesses are afraid and do not want to talk about the crime WHEREAS Genivaldo Galindo da Silva, former mayor of Canindé de São Francisco was sentenced to 19 years and 10 months in prison for killing radio reporter José Wellington Fernandes, or Zezinho Cazuza, who was killed on March 13, 2000 in Sergipe; Silva’s defense lawyer appealed the sentence; but in this case, at least, the mastermind was punished WHEREAS Helton Jonas Gonçalves de Oliveira, accused in the killing of radio reporter José Carlos Araújo on April 24, 2004 in Timbaúba, Pernambuco, was sentenced on July 11, 2006 to 16 years in prison for the crime; Marcelo de Melo is in custody and his trial is in the closing argument phase; Fernando Mariano da Silva Filho is free pending trial; the trials of both may be held this year WHEREAS the police found eight people involved in the killing of radio reporter Nicanor Linhares Batista on June 30, 2003 in Limoeiro do Norte, Ceará; all were charged and appealed and the appeal is under consideration; more than half of the judges of the Brazilian Court of Appeals voted to hold the trial of former mayor Arivan Lucena, who is accused of ordering the crime, but every time another judge asks to see the file, it delays the decision; a member of the Public Prosecutor's Office is waiting to investigate to decide if Chief Judge José María Lucena, Arivan’s husband, will be charged as codefendant WHEREAS the former mayor of Coronel Sapucaia, Eurico Mariano was sentenced to 17 years and 9 months in prison for killing journalist Samuel Román in April of 2004 in Coronel Sapucaia, Mato Gross do Sul, one of the few cases in which the mastermind was punished; but Cleyton de Andrade Segovia, who has also been accused in the crime and had been in jail was released under habeas corpus and fled; and defendant Alfredo Rui Dias Arevalos also has disappeared `` WHEREAS Vladimir Rainieri Pereira Sobrosa, accused in the killing of Aristeu Guida da Silva on May 12, 1995 in São Fidelis, Rio de Janeiro was sentenced to 28 years in prison in April 2002; he appealed, was tried again and sentenced to 21 years but the second trial was annuled because the defense alleged that an essential witness was not heard; therefore a new date must be set; two other defendants, one of them a policeman, are fugitives WHEREAS businessman Domingos Sávio Brandão de Lima, owner of the newspaper Folha of Mato Grosso and radio station Cidade de Cuiabá FM was killed on September 30, 2002, and the guilty parties were convicted; but Fernando Barbosa Belo and João Leite Souza, are under semi-house arrest; a former military policeman, Célio Alves do Souza, who had fled, was captured and is in the Maximum Security Penitentiary of Campo Grande; the mastermind, João Arcanjo Ribeiro, an alleged organized crime leader, was extradited from Uruguay to Brazil and is in custody in the Pascoal Ramos Penitentiary; he appealed the verdict and if the court does not accept the appeal, a trial date will be set WHEREAS the investigation of the killing of journalist Reinaldo Coutinho da Silva on August 29, 1995 in São Gonçalo, Rio de Janeiro is moving forward thanks to the establishment of a special investigation and support group for the prosecutor of the Public Prosecutor's Office of Niterói; but the dismissal of two members of the team slowed the process just when they had identified new leads to the names of two probable suspects; it is possible that political pressures and disputes prevented the case from being solved WHEREAS there is no solution to the July 11, 2004, killing of radio reporter Jorge Lourenço dos Santos in Santana do Ipanema,, Alagoas; the investigation had to be repeated, because the initial approach was not correct; there is strong pressure against the investigators and the victim’s relatives; at the beginning of the case a chief of the Federal Police participated in the investigation at the request of the Justice Ministry WHEREAS there are problems in the penal system of several states; Elizeu Felício de Souza, better known as Zeu, one of the seven people convicted of the killing of Tim Lopes, escaped from Edgar Costa Instituto Penal in Niterói, Rio de Janeiro in July, when he was granted a less restrictive regimen; he had not been found by October; two defendants in the crime against Domingos Sávio Brandão managed to escape from prisons in Mato Grosso WHEREAS it is very difficult to get information from police headquarters in Rio de Janeiro about cases of killings of journalists in that state and the pursuit of fugitives; they say they have several homicides to investigate and that they cannot stop cases that occurred before the current administration or give some cases priority over others WHEREAS Two former mayors were convicted of ordered the killings of Samuel Román in Mato Grosso do Sul and radio reporter José Wellington Fernandes in Sergipe, which represents progress in the battle against impunity in Brazil WHEREAS there is a constant movement of prosecutors and district police chiefs and a backlog of cases to be analyzed; in addition, it is easy for criminals to flee from areas near the borders ; delays or errors in the work of experts can make it easy to hide important evidence; since there are no witness protection programs witnesses refuse to cooperate in investigations and there is a lot of pressure on investigators when a crime or threat occurs against journalists in provincial cities, especially if the suspects are involved with the police or city hall WHEREAS Principle 4 of the Declaration of Chapultepec says “Freedom of expression and of the press are severely limited by murder, terrorism, kidnapping, pressure, 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 move investigations of crimes against journalists to federal jurisdiction as provided for in the Proposed Amendment No. 29 of 2000 to the Constitution that the National Congress enacted on December 8, 2004 so that there will be no pressure on the prosecutors and police officers in charge of investigations and witnesses to ask for improvements in the Witness Protection Program so witnesses can and will want to cooperate with investigations to ask the police and the justice system to work to identify, prosecute and punish the people behind crimes against the press, as in the cases of the killings of Samuel Román in Mato Grosso do Sul and radio reporter José Wellington Fernandes, and not just the intermediaries and hit men to ask the judiciary to find ways to prevent defendants who hold political office from manipulating evidence or using tricks to slow or overturn their prosecution to request the Department of Public Safety and police to work to capture and punish fugitives and that reductions in the conditions of custody be evaluated in light of the seriousness of the crime to ask municipal, state and federal government agency to provide access to public documents and investigations to ask that the specialist of the investigations support group of the 2nd Investigations Office of the Public Prosecutor's Office of Niterói, Rio de Janeiro be reinstated so the investigations of the case of Reinaldo Coutinho da Silva and other homicides that are being solved can be closed without external pressure.