Impunity Brazil


75th General Assembly
October 4-7, 2018
Coral Gables, Florida


WHEREAS, on May 22, 2019, Marcone Sarmento was sentenced to six years in prison for the murder of journalist Manoel Leal on January 14, 1988 in Itabuna, Bahia, but as he had already served two years, Judge Gelzi de Almeida established a 4-year open-ended sentence; that the Prosecutor's Office appealed the decision arguing that it was aggravated murder and, therefore, the sentence should be higher

WHEREAS, in September 2019 the IAPA again questioned the Prosecutor's Office of Bahia on the reopening of the case of Manoel Leal to identify and punish the perpetrators of the crime - as recommended by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights in an agreement signed with the Brazilian State - but an advisor to the Bahia Attorney General's Office replied that, due to the time passed since the crime, he would need more time to verify with the Itabuna Attorney-General's Office "whether another investigation had taken place"

WHEREAS, the Prosecutor Emmanuel Levenhagen Pelegrini - auxiliary member of the National Council of the Public Prosecutor's Office (CNMP) - along with the National Strategy of Justice and Public Security, also sent a request for information about the case of Manoel Leal de Oliveira to the Public Prosecutor's Office of Bahia; that he is following the cases of Manoel Leal and Aristeu Guida da Silva, as well as other cases referred by the SIP to the IACHR; that the CNMP is going through a period of restructuring and change of advisors

WHEREAS, the assassinations of radio broadcasters, bloggers, communicators and journalists investigated by the IAPA in the Impunity Project, including Ivan Rocha, host of Radio Alvorada AM de Teixeira de Freitas; Reinaldo Coutinho da Silva, murdered on August 29, 1995, in São Gonçalo, Rio de Janeiro; Edgar Lopes de Faria, murdered on October 29, 1997 in Campo Grande, Mato Grosso do Sul, and José Carlos Mesquita, murdered on March 10, 1998 in Ouro Preto do Oeste, Rondônia, remain unpunished

WHEREAS, on April 16, 2019, former evangelical minister Gilson Neudo Soares do Amaral and businessman Lailson Lopes, the 'Fat Man of Rodoviária', were sentenced to 14 years in prison for the murder of radio broadcaster Francisco Gomes de Medeiros, F. Gomes, killed on October 18, 2010 in Caicó, Rio Grande do Norte; Amaral is in prison, but is allowed to go out to work during the day, and Lopes was granted the right to await the trial in freedom

WHEREAS, on April 1, 2019, Judge Jesseir Coelho de Alcântara, of the 3rd Criminal Court of Serious Crimes against Life and the Court of Justice of Goiânia, in the State of Goiás, issued a statement claiming not to be able to hold the trial of the five accused of assassinating the broadcaster Valério Luiz de Oliveira, because the criminal and civil court has no "physical or organizational structure" to host the session of a case that had "enormous repercussion;" that, therefore, the trial has not yet been held; that Oliveira was murdered on July 5, 2012, after leaving Radio Jornal 820 AM, where he recorded the program "Jornal de Debates"; that Djalma Gomes da Silva, Maurício Sampaio, Urbano de Carvalho Malta, Marcus Vinícius Pereira Xavier and Ademá Figueredo were accused of the crime; that on October 7, 2019 there will be a new mental health examination of Silva

WHEREAS, Rio de Janeiro's Special Action Group to Combat Organized Crime (Gaeco) is supporting investigations into the murders of Robson Giorno, owner of the newspaper 'O Maricá', killed on May 25, 2019, and Romário da Silva Barros, from the website 'Lei Seca Maricá, killed on June 18, 2019; whereas there is still no confirmation that the crimes committed in Maricá municipality are related to professional activity

WHEREAS, in May 2019 the IAPA sent a letter to Judge Walter Carlos Lemes - President of the Court of Justice of Goiás - requesting a "definitive solution on holding a Plenary Session of the People's Jury on the case of Valério Luiz" and emphasizing the need to "prevent the crime from going unpunished - after so many years," but did not receive a reply

WHEREAS, until September 24, 2019, the Program for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, Communicators and Environmentalists throughout Brazil supervised 571 human rights defenders, and only two were related to freedom of expression

WHEREAS, on June 13, 2019, the Permanent Commission on the Right to Communication and Freedom of Expression, linked to the National Council on Human Rights, issued Recommendation No. 07, which "recommends that the treatment given to communicators by public officials - President of the Republic, Vice President, Ministers of State, governors, mayors, deputies, senators, councilmen, among others who, in the exercise of their functions, represent the Brazilian State – follow guidelines established by international and national standards that aim to ensure respect for professional practice, freedom of expression, press freedom and the right to information"

WHEREAS the recommendations include: (a) Adopting a public discourse that helps to prevent violence against communicators and to create an environment conducive to the free exercise of journalism and freedom of expression; (b) Condemning, in a public, unequivocal and systematic manner, all forms of violence and attacks against communicators and encouraging the competent authorities to act with due diligence and speed in investigating the crimes and punishing those responsible

WHEREAS, although in 2018 the Program for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders began to include the protection of Communicators through Ordinance No. 300, and that workshops and meetings were held with representatives of organizations that work in defense of freedom of expression to discuss how to improve the service to communicators, in 2019 there was no progress in creating a methodology and protocols to meet the specificities of this group

WHEREAS, since December 11, 2018, when the then Ministry of Human Rights launched the "Aristeu Guida da Silva Booklet - International Standards for the Protection of the Human Rights of Journalists and Other Communicators," no other activities were promoted for its dissemination; that the Special Office for International Affairs of the now Ministry of Women, the Family and Human Rights, in charge of promoting the booklet, claims that there has been a reshuffle of personnel with the change of ministry and that it is in the process of restructuring; that the preparation and dissemination of the booklet are part of the recommendations of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) in relation to the murder of journalist Aristeu Guida da Silva, occurred in São Fidélis, Rio de Janeiro, in May of 1995

WHEREAS, in April 2019 the National Council of the Public Prosecution Service (CNMP) issued a report containing data on violence against communicators in Brazil - in which 64 cases were recorded between 1995 and 2018; the intention is that the data should be used as a reference to inform international bodies about the situation in the country

WHEREAS, the proposal for a recommendation made on May 29, 2018 by national advisor Luciano Nunes Maia Freire - which states that "all units of the Brazilian Public Prosecutor's Office, within their respective attributions, shall strive to prioritize the prompt prosecution of crimes against life, physical integrity and threats, whether attempted or consummated, committed against journalists, press professionals and communicators, in the exercise of the profession or on account thereof" to avoid impunity - awaits a vote in the CNMP

WHEREAS, Principle 4 of the Chapultepec Declaration states that "murder, terrorism, kidnapping, pressure, intimidation, unjust imprisonment of journalists, material destruction of the media, violence of any kind and impunity for aggressors severely limit freedom of speech and of the press. These acts must be promptly investigated and severely punished"


Request efforts to identify and punish the intellectual authors of the murder of Manoel Leal de Oliveira - with the reopening of the case - as recommended by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.

Request that working conditions and support be provided to prosecutor Emmanuel Levenhagen Pelegrini so that he can further investigate cases of murder, aggression and threats against communicators in the practice of the profession, and also for the implementation of Violence Watch.

Request support to expand the dissemination of the "Aristeu Guida da Silva Booklet - International Standards for the Protection of the Human Rights of Journalists and other Communicators," especially in Rio de Janeiro, where the crime took place, as well as compliance with the other recommendations made by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights regarding the Aristeu Guida da Silva case.

Request that the Program for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, Communicators and Environmentalists make the necessary changes to include threatened communicators - according to the specific needs of these professionals - and adopt protocols and methodologies developed jointly with representatives of organizations defending freedom of expression.

Request that working conditions and respect for the decisions of the Permanent Committee on the Right to Communication and Freedom of Expression be guaranteed, as well as the implementation of the recommendations made by the Commission regarding the treatment of communicators by public officials - in order to guarantee respect for professional practice, freedom of expression, freedom of the press and the right to information.

Request an end of aggression, intimidation and defamation against communicators in retaliation for their professional activities - actions repeatedly committed by governments and politicians.