Impunity - Brazil

WHEREAS this six-month period was witness to the July 11 murder of journalists Jorge Lourenço dos Santos, of radio station Criativa FM in Santana do Ipanema, Alagoas; and the April 24 murder of Jose Carlos Araújo, of Radio Timbaúba FM in Timnaúba, Pernambuco WHEREAS the investigation into the killing of Reinaldo Coutinho da Silva in 1995 remains stalled because the Civil Police claim to have encountered difficulties in obtaining evidence that would lead to the perpetrators and masterminds, and moreover, the prosecutor who reopened the case failed to report on its status in October 2004 WHEREAS the investigation into the killing of Manoel Leal de Oliveira, murdered on January 14, 1998, led to the murderers but not the persons behind the crime; one of the suspected murderers continues working for the Department of Public Safety in Salvador, and one of the suspected masterminds was reelected mayor on October 3, notwithstanding petitions to nullify his candidacy WHEREAS there is a new lead into the murder of Edgar Lopes de Faria on October 29, 1997, although it cannot be confirmed due to technical difficulties encountered by the police in pursuing the investigation and witnesses too fearful to testify WHEREAS in spite of significant progress by the prosecutor, João Alves da Silva Neto, in the search for the murderers of radio journalist Ronaldo Santana de Araújo, killed on October 9, 1997, it would appear that Eunápolis Mayor Paulo Dapé seeks to hinder the investigation WHEREAS despite leads as to the whereabouts of the fugitive accused of murdering of José Carlos Mesquita, the police have been unable to arrest him, alleging that his precise location must be ascertained in order to justify the cost of sending an investigative team to another state WHEREAS the five individuals charged with participating in the murder of social columnist Maria Nilce Magalhães on July 5, 1989, are in custody, awaiting a date for a jury trial WHEREAS the investigation into the death of Nivanildo Barbosa Lima, whose body was found in Lake Paulo Afonso on July 22, 1995, was reopened and the Office of the Prosecutor requested evidence be taken anew; however, changes in prosecutorial personnel might hinder the investigation WHEREAS the investigation into the April 22, 1991, disappearance of journalist Ivan Rocha, in Teixeira de Freitas, Bahía, has been put on hold, even though the IAPA received information that there are witnesses to the kidnapping and reports from an officer that could lead to a new investigation WHEREAS former police officer Divino José de Matos, aka Divino 45, accused of murdering journalist Mário Eugênio Rafael de Oliveira, on November 11, 1984, is now in custody after a 17-year delay in his trial; nevertheless, none of the figures behind the murder have been identified WHEREAS delays continue in the case of radio journalist José Wellington Fernandes, aka Zezinho Cazuza, murdered on March 13, 2000, caused by the fact that the prime suspect is the mayor WHEREAS the prime suspect in the murder of Mário Coelho de Almeida Filho, on August 16, 2001, Genivaldo Ferreira Nogueira, aka Batata, was arrested on September 2002, but prevailed in a petition for a writ of habeas corpus in September 2003, even though he was accused of two other murders; the other suspect, Reynaldo Polari Stumpf, remains at large WHEREAS Aristeu Guida da Silva was murdered on May 12, 1995 and Vladimir Rainieri Pereira Sobrosa was charged as one of the killers and sentenced to 28 years in prison; however, he appealed the sentence and is awaiting a new trial, while two other suspects, one of whom is a police officer, remain at large WHEREAS the Civil Police identified and arrested the murderers of journalist Tim Lopes of TV Globo, the Office of the Prosecutor brought its investigation to a close, and all defendants are awaiting a trial date WHEREAS the police arrested eight suspects in the murder of radio journalist Nicanor Linhares Batista, killed on June 30, 2003 in Limoeiro do Norte, Ceará, and the Office of the Prosecutor has concluded its work; one of the suspects remains at large and another was recently killed in a confrontation with the police; the other defendants are awaiting a trial date WHEREAS businessman Domingo Sávio Brandão of Lima, owner of the newspaper Folha do Estado do Mato Grosso and the radio station Cidade de Cuiabá FM, was murdered on September 30, 2002; the Civil Police have identified five suspects in the crime, including the mastermind, João Arcanjo Ribeiro, who is accused of being an organized crime boss and is held in prison in Uruguay, facing a request for his extradition; former Military Police corporal, Hércules Araújo Agostinho, was sentenced to 18 years in prison WHEREAS the suspects in the murder of radio journalist Samuel Román, killed in Coronel Sapucaia, Mato Grosso do Sul in April 2004, were sentenced to jail but remain at large, and the overland border between Brazil and Paraguay is conducive to escape; one of the suspects is the mayor of Coronel Sapucaia, Eurico Mariano, who prevailed in a petition of writ of habeas corpus and is free while the case is prosecuted WHEREAS Principle 4 of the Declaration of Chapultepec states, “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 request of the Federal Government that the Federal Police be given jurisdiction over investigations into crimes that violate human rights, including the murder of journalists and radio hosts, in view of the fact that such “federalization” is provided for in the proposed Constitutional Amendment No. 29/2000 in the Senate enabling reforms to the Judicial Branch and has already has been discussed by the Chamber of Deputies and is pending approval by the Senate to request the extension and improvement of the Witness Protection Program, which currently puts witnesses' lives at risk, with the result that many choose not to seek protection under the program to request that the Departments of Public Safety for the states of Alagoas, Mato Grosso, Mato Grosso do Sul, Bahía, Río de Janeiro, Brasilia, Sergipe, Espírito Santo, Rondônia, establish the technical and infrastructure conditions that would enable the police to effectively investigate crimes, including the payment of travel expenses for the transfer of suspects, expedited laboratory services for ballistics, DNA and fingerprint testing, availability of vehicles for basic investigations, as well as expedited search and arrest warrants to require of the Police and Prosecutors that investigations not be limited solely to the identification and jailing of perpetrators and intermediaries, but also pursue the masterminds behind the crimes, and that investigations and trials be pursued in full, without interruptions caused by changes in prosecutors or police officers to request that the Ministry of Justice expedite the extradition of João Arcanjo Ribeiro from Uruguay to Brazil so that he may stand trial for the murder of Domingo Sávio Brandão, among others to request that reelected leaders and all others taking office in January uphold and ensure the right to freedom of speech and commit themselves to do away with impunity.