Impunity Brazil


IAPA Midyear Meeting 2017

Antigua Guatemala, Guatemala

March 31 – April 3


WHEREAS crimes against journalists that occurred in the 1980s, 1990s, and 2000s remain unpunished, including the killings of Reinaldo Coutinho da Silva on August 29, 1995, in São Gonçalo, Rio de Janeiro; of Edgar Lopes de Faria on October 29, 1997, in Campo Grande, Mato Grosso do Sul; of José Carlos Mesquita on March 10, 1998, in Ouro Preto do Oeste, Rondônia; and of Luiz Otávio Monteiro on December 29, 1988 in Manaus, Amazonas

WHEREAS it is necessary to work alongside the relevant entities in Brazil to ensure fulfillment of the agreement signed by the Brazilian government with the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights in relation to the killing of journalist Manoel Leal de Oliveira in Itabuna, Bahia, which called for the case to be reopened so that the masterminds behind the crime may be identified and punished

WHEREAS all appeals of the indictments for the July 5, 2012, killing of radio sports broadcaster Valério Luiz de Oliveira in the state of Goiás had been denied as of March 2016; however, a ruling on a final appeal will be handed down on April 4, 2017; if this appeal is denied, the defendants will still have the right to appeal to the Brazilian Supreme Court before their case goes before a jury; charged with the crime are Maurício Sampaio, president of Atlético Clube Goianense, the soccer team in the city of Goiânia, a post to which he was selected while awaiting, as a free man, the decision on his appeal against the indictment, as well as Urbano de Carvalho Malta, Marcus Vinícius Pereira Xavier, Ademá Figueredo and Djalma da Silva

WHEREAS two defendants have been taken into custody in connection with the killing of João Miranda do Carmo, who operated the website "SAD Sem Censura" and was killed on July 24, 2016, in Santo Antônio de Descoberto (Goiás); his site disseminated information on police cases and local issues; and investigations are continuing into other killings of journalists in 2016 that may have been related to their work

WHEREAS defendant Gláucio Alencar Pontes Carvalho, identified by the police investigation as involved in the killing of journalist Décio Sá in April 2012 in Maranhão, was released pursuant to a ruling by the Superior Court; he had been in the São Luis III prison in the Pedrinhas penitentiary complex in São Luís do Maranhão; Superior Court justice Ribeiro Dantas ordered Carvalho to be kept under house arrest with an ankle bracelet; Carvalho is awaiting his verdict in the Décio Sá case

WHEREAS legislative bills that would establish federal jurisdiction over crimes against journalists and increase sentences for killers of journalists are still pending discussion or vote in the Senate and the Chamber of Deputies; these include Senate Bill 329/2016, introduced by Senator Acir Gurgacz (PDT-RO), which would classify as a heinous crime the killing of a journalist for reasons related to his or her work, and which has been before the Constitution, Justice and Citizenship Committee since September 19, 2016, awaiting designation of a rapporteur; Bill 7107/2014, submitted by Domingos Sávio (PSDB/MG), which would classify as heinous any crime against the life, safety, and physical integrity of a journalist or media professional in the course of his or her work, and which has been before the Constitution, Justice and Citizenship Committee since March 12, 2015, with legislator Ronaldo Fonseca as the designated rapporteur; Bill 191/2015, submitted by legislator Vicentinho (PT/SP), which would amend Law 10.446 of May 8, 2002, to order the Federal Police to investigate crimes involving failure or inefficacy of the authorities with regular jurisdiction or involving violence against journalism, and which is before the Constitution, Justice and Citizenship Committee, with the amendment period having ended on February 23, 2016

WHEREAS Senate Bill 743/2011, introduced by Senator Marcelo Crivella (PRB-RJ), for which Paulo Prim has been designated as rapporteur; Senate Bill 699/2011, introduced by former Senator Vital do Rêgo, which is awaiting designation of a rapporteur; and Senate Bill 2658/2011 are still to be voted on; these bills would require media companies to provide bulletproof vests and other personal protective equipment for journalism professionals engaged in high-risk coverage

WHEREAS despite widespread dissemination, primarily through social media, of assaults, threats and killings of journalists soon after they occur, there is still no systematic, centralized monitoring of such cases by the Brazilian government; this monitoring is important for identifying risks, intensifying protective measures for journalists, and ensuring that the culprits are punished, with effective and efficient policies, to uphold the public's right to ethical, quality reporting

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."


To demand that all cases of journalists killed, assaulted, intimidated, or threatened in the course of their work in Brazil be fully investigated

To ensure that the gunmen, intermediaries, and masterminds in these crimes are punished in order to prevent impunity and deter the proliferation of such crimes

To request that measures be taken to prevent Gláucio Alencar Pontes Carvalho, who is under house arrest while awaiting a verdict in the killing of journalist Décio Sá, from fleeing

To request that media companies ensure the provision of protective equipment to their professionals in the course of their work

To demand that measures be taken to ensure that the amicable settlement reached with the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights be finally fulfilled to punish the mastermind(s) behind the 1998 killing of journalist Manoel Leal de Oliveira in Itabuna, Bahia

To demand that police chiefs, forensic experts, detectives and prosecutors be provided the support and conditions they need to complete their investigations into unsolved killings of media professionals in the course of their work

To request support for the passage of a law to establish federal jurisdiction over cases involving killings of journalists in the course of their work in the event of failure or inefficacy of the authorities with regular jurisdiction over these cases, or in the event that witnesses or local authorities are subjected to pressure.