Impunity - Brazil

WHEREAS the defense counsel of police officer Mozart Brasil, sentenced to 18 years in prison in September 2003 for the murder of journalist Manoel Leal de Oliveira, has by making repeated requests for new inquiries been postponing the Administrative Disciplinary Proceedings that will determine whether the officer will be dismissed from the Civilian Police for participating in the crime, Marcone Sarmiento was acquitted in December 2005 and an appeal has not yet been heard, in the proceedings the possible masterminds of the crime have not even mentioned, the Brazilian government could pay compensation to Leal’s family WHEREAS the High Court decided to re-assess the merit of the special appeal filed by the former mayor of Eunápolis, Paulo Dapé, and his employees Maria José Ferreira Souza (“Maria Sindoiá”), Waldemir Batista de Oliveira (“Duda”) and Antônio Oliveira Santos (“Toninho da Caixa”), who were accused of the murder of radio reporter Ronaldo Santana de Araújo, committed on October 9, 1997 in Eunápolis, Bahia, if the appeal is not admitted the accused will be put on trial WHEREAS since October 2008 Judge O.G. Fernandes has been responsible for reviewing the special appeals filed by those accused of murdering radio reporter Jorge Vieira da Costa in March 2001 in Timon, Maranhão WHEREAS none of the masterminds of the murder of Mário Coelho de Almeida Filho on August 16, 2001 in Magé, Rio de Janeiro, and of José Carlos Mesquita on March 10, 1998 in Ouro Preto do Oeste, Rondônia have yet been identified WHEREAS investigations have not yet been concluded into the murder of Nivanildo Barbosa Lima, found dead in a reservoir in Paulo Alfonso on July 22, 1995, a case that has remained shelved for a long time WHEREAS the murder of Edgar Lopes de Faria, committed on October 29, 1997 in Campo Grande, Mato Grosso do Sul, and the disappearance of journalist Ivan Rocha on April 22, 1991 in the city of Teixeira de Freitas, Bahia, continue to go unpunished because the cases were shelved WHEREAS the Public Prosecutor’s Office is still awaiting the results of the inquiry into the mental health of Romualdo Eustáquio da Luz Faria, known as the “Japanese,” accused of murdering gossip columnist Maria Nilce Magalhaes on July 5, 1989 in Vitôria, Espírito Santo, the examination was set for August 2009 and runs the risk of being postponed one more year by the convict through filing of an appeal, another person accused of the same crime, police officer Charles Roberto Lisboa, satisfactorily passed the mental health examination and is awaiting the decision of the judge to learn if he will be put on trial WHEREAS João Arcanjo Ribeiro, accused of being the organized crime boss in Mato Grosso state, filed an appeal in the High Court to overturn the charge that he had ordered businessman Domingos Sávio Brandão de Lima, owner of Folha do Estado and radio station Cidade de Cuiabá FM, to be killed on September 30, 2002 WHEREAS Cleyton de Andrade Segoya was sentenced to 20 years in prison for carrying out the murder of radio reporter Samuel Román in Coronel Sapucaia, Mato Grosso do Sul, on April 20, 2004, another eight accused have not been located, the former mayor of Coronel Sapucaia, Eurico Mariano, has filed an appeal against his sentence of 17 years and nine months in prison, this being one of the few cases in which the mastermind of a crime has been convicted WHEREAS the public prosecutor in charge of the inquiries into the murder of Reinaldo Coutinho da Silva, committed on August 29, 1995 in São Gonçalo, Rio de Janeiro, has said that it is probable that the case will be shelved WHEREAS Marcelo de Melo was sentenced to 14 years in prison on October 22, 2008 for the murder of radio reporter José Carlos Araújo on April 24, 2004 in Timbaúba, Pernambuco, Fernando Mariano da Silva Filho was acquitted, Helton Jonas Gonçalves de Oliveira had already been sentenced on July 11, 2006 to serve 16 years in a high-security prison WHEREAS Cludino dos Santos Coleho (“Xuxa”) and Cláudio Orlando do Nascimento (“Ratinho”), sentenced to 23 years and seven months in prison for the murder of journalist Tim Lopes, committed in June 2002 in Rio de Janeiro, in November and December 2008, respectively, were able to obtain the benefit of serving their sentences in a semi-open prison on having now served one-sixth of them, but in view of protests by human rights organizations they were denied permission to visit with their families WHEREAS appeals Judge José Maria Lucena was accused of having ordered the murder of radio reporter Nicanor Linhares Batista on July 30, 2003 in Limoeiro do Norte, Ceará and his appeal will be aired before the High Court due to his having the right to access to that privileged forum, his wife, former mayoress Maria Arivan de Holanda Lucena, also has been accused but her request to be tried by the High Court was not accepted and she must now go before the Limoeiro do Norte courts WHEREAS two persons accused of the murder of journalist Aristeu Guida da Silva, committed on May 12, 1995 in São Fidélis, Rio de Janeiro, remain at large, nobody has been punished for the crime as the only person who had been convicted appealed and was acquitted WHEREAS a ruling is awaited on a request to dismiss the jury hearing the case of police officers Valnei Bertoni, Paul César Ronceiro, Edson Luiz Ronceiro and Adélco Carlos Avelino and businessman Carlos Alberto da Costa, accused of murdering journalist Luiz Carlos Bargon Filho on May 5, 2007 in Porto Ferreira, São Paulo, the Public Prosecutor’s Office requested that the case be heard outside Porto Ferreira so that there would be no pressure on the members of the jury, the victim’s widow and a local journalist complained of having received threats and having been dismissed from their jobs to silence them, to date the mastermind of the crime has not been identified WHEREAS inquiries into the case of radio reporter Jorge Lourenço dos Santos, murdered on July 11, 2004 in Santana do Ipanema, Alagoas, have not yet been concluded WHEREAS twenty years after the murder of reporter Luis Otávio Monteiro in Manaus, Amazonas, committed on December 29, 1988, the main person accused has still not been arrested nor has the mastermind of the crime been identified WHEREAS the majority of the crimes continue to go unpunished in regard to the identification and imprisonment of their masterminds WHEREAS those accused use all possible mechanisms existing under the law itself to delay their trials WHEREAS the shortcomings of judges and public prosecutors in some cities and lack of expertise contribute to delays in proceedings and make the gathering of evidence difficult WHEREAS the witness protection programs have flaws and as many of the crimes involve members of the police force and influential politicians witnesses choose to remain silent out of fear of reprisals WHEREAS it is easy to flee across Brazil’s national borders and there is no good system of locating fugitives, given that some of them are being sought for more than a decade now WHEREAS especially in inland cities there is a great deal of pressure, which makes it difficult to solve crimes and intimidates witnesses 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 IAPA MIDYEAR MEETING RESOLVES to ask the federal government to investigate at the federal level the crimes against members of the press, and with federal assistance so that there be no kind of pressure on public prosecutors, police officer or witnesses to urge that a crime be regarded as “solved” only when the mastermind also is identified and brought to justice to call for every effort to be made to apprehend those on the run and so prevent the investigations remaining stalled indefinitely to request changes in the protection program so as to really guarantee the personal safety of witnesses to ask that the necessary changes be made in the investigative team, so that the case of Reinaldo Coutino da Silva in Rio de Janeiro not be shelved to request for a revision of the law that enables Claudino dos Santos Coeljho (“Xuxa”} and Cláudio Orlando do Nascimento (“Ratinho”), convicted of the murder of journalist Tim Lopes in Rio de Janeiro, to pay for the crime in open prison, in view of the fact that Nascimento already previously escaped and another person convicted of the crime, Elizeu Felicio da Souza, fled in July 2008 when he was given leave to visit with his family to request that every effort be made so that the cases in which the accused may have a privileged trial are not delayed even further.