Re: Francisco Lucio Franca (m), lawyer
Isabel Peres (f), Coordinator for ACAT-Brazil
Jose de Jesus Filho (m), lawyer
To: Exmo. Secretario de Seguranca Publica do Estado de Sao Paulo
Exmo. Sr. Governador do Estado de Sao Paulo
Exmo. Ministro da Justica
From: P.G. Scambler, Member, Lawyers’ Rights Watch Canada
We are writing to you concerning the above named Francisco Lucio Franca,
and Jose de Jesus Filho, both lawyers and Isabel Peres the leader of a Non-Governmental Organization.
They have reported that they have received death threats and intimidation, which appear to be linked to their work to bring two alleged ‘death squad’ members to justice. Amnesty International believes their lives are in danger.
Ms. Peres is the Coordinator of the Brazilian branch of the NGO ACAT
(Christian Association for the Abolition of Torture). Together with lawyers Francisco Lucio Franca and Jose de Jesus Filho, she has been involved in the prosecution of two police officers, who are accused of the murder of two youths. The trial took place in Mongagua municipality, on the southern coast of Sao Paulo State. At the end of the first day of the trial, two cars followed Francisco Lucio Franca and Jose de Jesus Filho to the place where they were staying. On 26 March, another car followed Isabel Peres to the place where she was staying.
On 25 March, Francisco Lucio Franca approached by a man in Sao Paulo who said he was a police officer called ‘Lucio’, a member of a grupo de exterminio (‘death squad’) which fazia o servico sujo da Policia (‘carried out the dirty work of the police’). He told Franca, Voce pare com o processo, se nao voce morre! (‘you should drop this case, or else you will die!’) It was clear from what ‘Lucio’ said that he was talking about the
prosecution of the two police officers, who had been acquitted two days earlier of the murder of two teenagers.
LRWC is concerned for the personal safety of Francisco Lucio Franca, Isabel Peres, and Jose de Jesus Filho
We respectfully request that Brazilian authorities to take immediate steps to guarantee the safety of Francisco Lucio Franca, Isabel Peres, Jose de Jesus Filho and key witnesses to the September 2002 killing of Anderson do Carmo and Celso Gioelli Magalhaes Junior, in accordance with their wishes. We further call on the authorities to initiate an independent and transparent investigation into the death threats and intimidation they have suffered and to bring all those responsible to justice.
We ask the authorities to make public all investigations and criminal proceedings in relation to the killing of Anderson do Carmo and Celso Gioelli Magalhaes Junior; the two teenagers murdered while in the custody of police in Mongagua.
We are extremely concerned that police officers are linked with ‘death squads¡¯. We ask your office to take immediate steps to investigate and combat ‘death squad’ activity across Brazil.
We respectfully remind your government of its obligations to ensure respect for the right to life under the American Convention on Human Rights and the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), and, indeed, under the Constitution of Brazil.
We are concerned that the continuation of threats to Francisco Lucio Franca, Isabel Peres, Jose de Jesus Filho and their colleagues also contradict the Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers and the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders. Article 16 of the Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers provides that, “governments shall ensure that lawyers a) are able to perform all of their professional functions without intimidation, hindrance, harassment or improper interference; [.] c) shall not suffer, or be threatened with other, to the lawful exercise of his or her occupation or profession.”
Article 12 states that:
“the State shall take all necessary measures to ensure the protection by the competent authorities of everyone, individually and in association with others, against any violence, threats, retaliation, de facto or de jure adverse discrimination, pressure or any other arbitrary action as a consequence of his or her legitimate exercise of the rights referred to in the present Declaration.”
Article 17 states:
“Where the security of lawyers is threatened as a result of discharging their functions, they shall be adequately safeguarded by the authorities.”
The UN Declaration on the Rights and Responsibility of Individuals
Groups and Organs of Society to Promote and Protect Universally Recognised
Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (GA Res/53/144) requires member states to take all necessary measures to ensure that the competent authorities protect persons working to promote human rights against violence or threats.
We would appreciate your government’ s response to LRWC by mail, email
or fax to advise of your views about all these matters and of all the actions taken by your government to address the concerns we have expressed above.