Maria Aparecida Denadai, a lawyer working in the state of Espirito Santo, near Rio de Janeiro, has received death threats. The threats may be linked to the killing of her brother Marcelo Denadai, also a lawyer, on 15 April 2002. Mr. Denadai was killed as he was preparing to reveal evidence on political corruption in Espirito Santo state. Maria Aparecida Denadai received death threats in 2002 following public denunciations of the police investigation into the killing of her brother. Since his assassination, five of the witnesses in the case have been killed and it is believed Maria Aparecida Denadai’s life is in grave danger.
Federal police protection provided to Maria Aparecida Denadai following her brother’s death was withdrawn in December 2004. Since that time, she has been repeatedly intimidated allegedly receiving threatening messages from a man suspected of ordering the killing of her brother. She escaped an apparent attempt on her life in December 2005, and reports that in January 2006 her car was followed by two men on a motorcycle that disengaged only after she stopped outside of a police station.
Human rights violations, “death squad” activity, corruption, organized crime and attacks against human rights defenders in the state have been linked to the police organization Scuderie Detetive le Coq (SDLC). The organization, which was reportedly acting in conjunction with powerful political and economic groups in the state, was outlawed in November 2004. However, it is believed that many of its former members continue to be active in the state’s police forces and political offices. Marcelo Denadai’s death was reportedly linked to the now-banned organization. Threats against Maria Aparecida Denadai are a continuation of longstanding corruption and human rights violations in Espirito Santo.
Letter by Paulo de Tarso Lugon Arantes sent on Feb 7, 2006