Impunity Brazil

Whereas on February 9, 2012 in Barra do Piraí, Rio de Janeiro state, blogger Mario Randolfo Marques Lopes and his girlfriend, Maria Aparecida Guimarães, were murdered Whereas family members of radio journalist Valderlei Canuto Leandro, killed on September 1, 2011 in Tabatinga, Amazonas were threatened and sought protection; the main suspect of ordering the crime is the former mayor of the city, and because he was not reelected in 2012, he lost his privileged position before the law; therefore, the case was investigated by the district judge of Tabatinga Whereas in May, 2013 the Court of Justice of Ceará state reversed the decision that had absolved former mayor Arivan Lucena on August 23, 2012 of having been the mastermind in the murder of radio journalist Nicanor Linhares Batista on June 30, 2003 in Limoeiro do Norte, Ceará; but the ex-mayor appealed again; another accused person, José Vanderley dos Santos Nogueira, had the venue of the case moved to the state capital Whereas on December 5, 2012 the Supreme Court of Justice received an accusation from the Federal Prosecutor’s Office against federal Appeals Judge José Maria de Oliveira Lucena of the Federal Court of the Fifth Region, accused of ordering the killing of radio journalist Nicanor Linhares Batista; the action cokntinues as Criminal Case no. 517 (APN 517); the Federal Prosecutor’s Office had sought the opening of an inquiry in 2004 and offered the accusation to the Supreme Court of Justice in 2008 Whereas the escape of ex-mayor Eurico Mariano e Alfredo Rui Dias Arevalos, convicted in the murder of radio journalist Samuel Román, killed in Coronel Sapucaia, Mato Grosso do Sul state on April 20, 2004, brought to the attention of the border police the need to expand agreements with bordering countries and improve surveillance to capture criminals from both sides of the border Whereas João Francisco dos Santos (“Dão”) was convicted on August 6, 2013 and sentenced to 27 years in closed-regimen prison for the death of radio Journalist Francisco Gomes de Medeiros (“F. Gomes”), killed on October 18, 2010 in Caicó, Rio Grande do Norte state; Santos was further sentenced to pay R$ 300,000 to the journalist’s family; another four accused are awaiting sentencing; the only one who is in prison is former pastor Gilson Neudo Soares do Amaral, who is serving a sentence for drug trafficking; attorney Maria da Penha Batista, who defended businessman Lailson Lopes, known as the Highway Fat Man, alleged “matters of personal conscience” and abandoned the defense of her client, the supposed instigator of the crime, and for that reason Lopes’ trial was suspended Whereas there has still been no trial of defendant Paulo Ernesto Ribeiro da Silva, known as Paulo Dapé, who was the mayor of Eunápolis at the time of the crime, nor of former city employees Maria José Ferreira Souza, Waldemir Batista de Oliveira, and Antônio Oliveira Santos, also accused of the crime; the only person convicted for the murder, gunman Paulo Sérgio de Lima, fled after receiving the benefit of progression from closed to semi-open prison regimen Whereas trial should have been held on October 24, 2013 of João Arcanjo Ribeiro, accused of being the mastermind of the crime against businessman Domingos Sávio Brandão de Lima, owner of the Folha do Estado and radio station Cidade de Cuiabá FM, killed in 2002; Arcanjo managed to delay the trial through appeals, in spite of the fact that Justice Laurita Vaz of the Superior Court of Justice (STJ) ordered the immediate remanding of the criminal case to a jury trial Whereas Claudino dos Santos Coelho, convicted in the murder of journalist Tim Lopes of TV Globo in June, 2002 in Rio de Janeiro, who had been on the loose from the Vicente Piragibe Penal Institute in Bangu since February, 2013, was killed in an operation of the Special Operations Police Battalion (BOPE) in the Covanca slum in Rio de Janeiro on September 20, 2013 Whereas the murderers remain unpunished of reporters Luiz Otávio Monteiro in Manaus, Amazonas state on December 29, 1988; Reinaldo Coutinho da Silva on August 29, 1995 in São Gonçalo, Rio de Janeiro; Edgar Lopes de Faria, on October 29, 1997 in Campo Grande, Mato Grosso do Sul state; José Carlos Mesquita on March 10, 1998 in Ouro Preto do Oeste, Rondônia; and Mario Coelho de Almeida Filho, on August 16, 2001, Magé, Rio de Janeiro; and there has been no resolution of the murder of Wanderley dos Reis, on October 16, 2010 in Ibitinga, São Paulo, whose case has been dropped; nor of the death of journalist Nivanildo Barbosa Lima, found dead in the Paulo Afonso dam in Bahia state on July 22, 1995; nor of the disappearance of Ivan Rocha on April 22, 1991, in Texeira de Freitas, Bahia. Whereas the eleven persons accused of involvement in the death of journalists Décio Sá, killed on April 23, 2012 in São Luís, Maranhão, are awaiting trial; the twelfth person accused, attorney Ronaldo Ribeiro, had his case separated from that of the others Whereas trial was set for November 4, 2013 in the court of Vitória, of police officer Romualdo Eustáquio da Luz Faria (the “Japanese”), accused of participating in the murder of social columnist Maria Nilce dos Santos Magalhães on July 5, 1989 in Vitória, Espírito Santo; his attorneys alleged that he suffered from bipolar disorder, a claim not accepted by physicians, and he was able to delay the trial for seven years Whereas the friendly agreement made between the Brazilian government and the Inter American Commission on Human Rights has still not been fully complied with concerning the case of journalist Manoel Leal de Oliveira, which occurred on January 14, 1998 in Itabuna, Bahia; those who ordered the crime have not been identified and punished; Mozart Brasil, the only person convicted of the crime, submitted information about the case that was sent by the IAPA to the Secretariat of Human Rights (SEDH) of the Office of the President of the Republic in February, 2012; not until August 20, 2013 did the Acting International Advisor of the SEDH, Julia Barros Schirmer, send a copy of the IAPA correspondence to the Deputy Prosecutor General of the Republic, Rômulo de Andrade Moreira of the Prosecutor’s Office of the state of Bahia; the latter made his request after receiving a note  from the National Secretariat of Public Safety of the Ministry of Justice Whereas Proposal for an Amendment to the Constitution (PEC), no. 15 of 2010, which establishes the competence of federal judges to process and try crimes against journalists while performing their professional work has been in the Senate Constitution and Justice Committee since May 14, 2013, ready to come up for discussion; Senate Bill no. 167 of 2010, which alters the Penal Code, assuring priority in trying cases related to the murder of journalists due to their profession, was removed from the agenda on August 7, 2013 for further study by the committee member designated to analyze the bill, Senator Vital do Rêgo; Bill no. 1078/2011, which contemplates the participation of the Federal Police in the investigation of crimes against journalistic, work has been awaiting an opinion from the Committee on Public Safety and Combat Against Organized Crime of the Chamber of Deputies since April, 2013; subsequently, it should be sent for analysis by the Committee on Constitution and Justice Whereas Valério Luiz Filho, attorney and son of sports columnist Valério Luiz de Oliveira, murdered on July 5, 2012 in Goiânia, asked for federalization of this crime at a public hearing on September 3, 2013 in the State Legislative Assembly; Valério Luiz Filho said that the courts are under pressure to solve the crime; in February, 2013 businessman Maurício Borges Sampaio, former vice president of the Atlético Clube Goianense soccer team and owner of a notary public office in the city, was arrested as a possible instigator of the murder; according to the investigations, it is presumed that Urbano de Carvalho Malta and Military Police Sargent Djalma da Silva organized the murder with the support of butcher Marcus Vinícius Pereira Xavier and Military Police Corporal Ademá Figueiredo, but last May all of those supposedly involved were released through a habeus corpus appeal. Whereas the UN approved an Action Plan on the Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity on April 12, 2012 Whereas the Council on Defense of Human Beings, linked to the  Secretariat of Human Rights of the Office of the President of the Republic of Brazil, adopted Resolution No. 7 on October 18, 2012, creating the Working Group on the Human Rights of Communication Professionals of Brazil to analyze cases of violence against these professionals and to propose preventive measures in the fight against impunity Whereas Resolution No. 6, published on June 18, 2013 by the Secretariat of Human Rights of the Office of the President of the Republic, recommended “special protection” for journalists and communication professionals performing coverage of protests and the retaking of offices, and established guidelines on the use of less lethal weapons, such as rubber bullets and tear gas, by public safety forces, article 5 of the text stating that “any obstacle is prohibited” to the work of reporters, photographers, and any other communication professionals, “especially through the use of force” Whereas during the public hearing held on June 25, 2013 in São Paulo, representatives of the SEDH expressed special concern over the use of non-lethal weapons during the popular demonstrations held in the São Paulo during that time, and which are being repeated in many places throughout Brazil; journalists, reporters, photographers and cinematographers have been harmed by these weapons during the demonstrations Whereas Principle 4 of the Declaration of Chapultepec states that “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 INTER AMERICAN PRESS ASSOCIATION RESOLVES To call for special attention to bills of law and constitutional amendments that contemplate the federalization of crimes committed against journalists in the exercise of their profession in order to put an end to impunity and avoid pressures against judges, prosecutors, witnesses, and jurors To seek the identification and punishment of the masterminds of the murder of Manoel Leal de Oliveira, of Itabuna, thus complying with the agreement signed with the Inter American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) To call for the adoption of rigorous criteria in granting the benefit of progression from closed to semi-open prison regimen, in order to prevent flight; and to request that measures be implemented to locate and capture escapees within the country and in border regions, through agreements with other countries To seek support for witness protection programs, both for their expansion and to assure their proper functioning in an efficient manner To seek clarification of cases that remain unpunished, and ask that efforts be made to avoid dropping any more cases, as has happened recently To seek protection for the full exercise of freedom of the press To seek better equipment better working conditions for forensic experts, police chiefs, and prosecutors.