Impunity - Brazil

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WHEREAS the case of Reinaldo Coutinho da Silva, who was murdered in 1995, was taken up again in August of 2000 by Paulo Passos, head of the Rio de Janeiro Homicide Division after being stalled by bureaucratic problems; and several witnesses did not want to testify because of fear of reprisals and threats and have virtually disappeared WHEREAS the investigation of the death of Manoel Leal de Oliveira, murdered January 14, 1998, was reactivated in April of 2000, although the investigation is moving slowly because of the slow bureaucratic process and probably witnesses’ fear to give statements without protection for their lives WHEREAS Edgar Lopes Faria was murdered on October 29, 1997, and there has been no progress in the investigation, with several clues and leads lost, mainly because of a lack of human and technical resources WHEREAS radio journalist Ronaldo Santana de Araújo was murdered on October 9, 1997 and the killers have not yet been found despite the fact that the main suspect, gunman Paulo Sérgio Mendes Lima, is in jail and has made contradictory statements concerning the role of himself and others in the crime WHEREAS television anchorman José Carlos Mesquita was murdered on March 10, 1998, in Ouro Preto do Oeste, Rondônia, and the investigation is paralyzed, while one of the suspects who confessed to participating in the crime was killed after being released from preventive detention WHEREAS Principle 4 of the Declaration of Chapultepec says, “reedom 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 BOARD OF DIRECTORS OF THE IAPA RESOLVES to ask the authorities of Rio de Janeiro state to give the maximum support and offer guarantees to the police official to conduct a thorough investigation to find the perpetrators and masterminds of the murder of Reinaldo Coutinho da Silva ask the Public Security Secretariat of Bahia state to make the investigation of Manoel Leal de Oliveira’s murder a priority and put witnesses in a special protection system to ask the government of Mato Grosso do Sul state to guarantee working conditions so the investigation of the murder of Edgar Lopes Faria can continue and new interrogations can be conducted to ask the Public Security Secretariat of Bahia state to broaden the investigation of the murder of Ronaldo Santana de Araújo and verify the statements of the detained suspect and his current relationship with the people he has named as responsible for the crime, as well as offering him due protection and guarantees to ask the government of Rondônia to continue the investigation of the murder of José Carlos Mesquita to ask the authorities for a special system to protect witnesses so they can testify with guarantees and to protect their identities to call on the Inter-American Human Rights Commission, through documents presented by the IAPA, to press Brazilian authorities for a complete solution of the murders of Reinaldo Coutinho da Silva, José Carlos Mesquita, Ronaldo Santana de Araújo, Manoel Leal de Oliveira and Edgar Lopes de Faria.

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