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Brazil: Death threats / fear for safety: Joao Soares

, رقم الوثيقة: AMR 19/032/1999

Amnesty International is concerned for the safety of prominent trade unionist Joao Soares who has been threatened with death, allegedly by police officers.

PUBLIC AI Index: AMR 19/32/99
UA 325/99 Death treats / Fear for safety 23 December 1999
BRAZILJoao Soares, President of the Confederation of Security Guard Trade Unions
in Paraná, and family.
Amnesty International is concerned for the safety of prominent trade unionist
Joao Soares who has been threatened with death, allegedly by police officers.
The threats against Joao Soares, President of the Federation of Security Guard
Trade Unions in Paraná (FETRAVISPP), Federacao de Sindicatos dos Empregados
em Empresas de Vigilancia do Estado do Paraná, follow FETRAVISPP complaints
about police officers illegally working as private security guards, including
at times when they are meant to be on police duty.
The FETRAVISPP complaints echo a series of complaints made to the authorities
in October 1999 by the Trade Union Federation which claimed that private security
firms were being run by military police officers who were employing other police
to work for them, again including during on-duty hours. FETRAVISPP claimed
that these firms were breaking the law that specifies that security guards
should be formally registered after completing approved training courses, and
that they were diverting resources from public security duties.
Following considerable press coverage of the issues, anonymous phone calls
were made to Joao Soares advising him to: “para com as denuncias, voce não
sabe com que esta mexendo”, “stop the denunciations, you don't know who you’re
messing with”, and “Os policiais militares estao ficando muito irritados com
as denuncias”, “the military police are getting very irriated by the
denunciations”.
On 23 October a computer containing records of the complaints was stolen from
Joao Soares’s office. Two days later a military policeman arrived at FETRAVISPP
offices to convey a message from a military police colonel to the directors
advising the union to withdraw its complaint about a particular security firm.
On 30 October, Joao Soares made a formal complaint to the police about the
threats and, on 21 December, was informed by them that they were making
significant progress with their enquiries. Despite this, they have failed to
take action in relation to the death threats or to offer him and his family,
who have been threatened on two more occasions, police protection. In addition,
Joao Soares has been told that police are furious at the prospect of losing
extra income.
On 14 December, security guard union representatives, including Joao Soares,
met with the Brazilian Minister of Justice, José Carlos Dias. They were seeking
a federal police investigation into illegal police involvement in security
companies and an investigation into the death threats against Joao Soares as
well as police protection for him and his family.
BACKGROUND INFORMATION
Police authorities generally turn a blind eye to the widespread practice of
police running and working for private security firms during their off-duty
time, as an alternative to paying better police salaries. Despite increasing
reports that police have been working for private firms during their on-duty
hours, however, the involvement of high-ranking police officers has acted as
a barrier to any in-depth investigation and punishment of the infringement
of regulations in this regard.
2
While legislation is in place obliging private security companies and guards
to register with the federal police, there are a very large number of illegal
and clandestine firms. In 1993 the Federal Congress's Parliamentary Commission
of Inquiry into the Extermination of Children showed evidence of considerable
overlap between clandestine security firms and death squads involved in 'social
cleansing'.
RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send telegrams/faxes/express/airmail letters in
Portuguese or your own language:
- expressing concern for the safety of Joao Soares, President of the Federation
of Trade Unions for Security Guard Workers in Paraná, who has been issued with
death threats after he denounced irregular police involvement in private
security firms;
- expressing concern that these death threats appear to have been issued by
military police;
- asking the authorities to initiate an immediate, impartial and independent
investigation into the death threats against him;
- asking them to carry out all necessary measures, deemed appropriate by Joao
Soares and his family, to guarantee their safety.
APPEALS TO:
Minister of Justice
Exmo Sr Ministro da Justiça
do Brasil
Dr. José Carlos Dias
Ministério da Justiça
Esplanada dos Ministérios, Bloco T
70064-900 Brasília, DF, Brazil
Telegrams:Ministério da Justiça, Brasília, DF, Brazil
Faxes:+ 55 61 224 2448 (if voice answers say: “por favor dar o sinil do fax)
SalutationYour Excellency/ Vossa Excêlencia
Governor of Paraná
Governor - Paraná
Exmo Sr Governador do
Estado do Paraná
Jaime Lerner
Palácio Iguaçu Centro Cívico
80530-909 Curitiba PR, Brazil
Telegrams:Governadoria Estado, Curitiba, Parana, Brazil
Faxes: + 55 41 254 2399
Salutation: Your Excellency / Vossa Excêlencia
Secretary of Public Security
Secretário de Segurança Pública do Estado do Paraná
Dr Cândido Martins de Oliveira
Rua Deputado Mário Barros, 1290
80530-280 Curitiba PR, Brazil
Telegrams:Secretário de Segurança Pública, Curitiba, PR, Brazil
Faxes:+ 55 41 254 8838
Salutation: Exmo. Sr./ Dear Sir
COPIES TO:
Federation of Private Security Guard Unions
Federação de Sindicatos na Vigilancia
Rua Iapó 1566, Prado Velho
3
80.215-020 Curitiba, Paraná, Brazil
and to diplomatic representatives of Brazil accredited to your country.
PLEASE SEND APPEALS IMMEDIATELY. Check with the International Secretariat,
or your section office, if sending appeals after 10 February 2000.

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