EXTERNAL (for general distribution) AI Index: AMR 19/06/94
UA 80/94 Legal/Medical Concern/Fear For Safety 2 March 1994
BRAZIL José TEIXEIRA CASTILHO 'Ze de Fejão' - Trade unionist
Amnesty International is concerned for the health of rural trade unionist José
Teixeira Castilho, otherwise known as Zé de Feijão, who has been held in custody
at the regional police station of Marabá in the state of Pará for 20 days without
charge. He suffers from Hansen's disease (leprosy) and since his detention
on 10 February 1994 has reportedly been deprived of access to daily drug
treatment for the disease.
José Teixeira Castilho is a director of the Rural Workers Trade Union of Eldorado
do Carajás and has received death threats and attempts on his life in connection
with his trade union activities. His father-in-law, Arnaldo Delcídio Ferreira,
the last President of the Rural Workers' Union of Eldorado do Carajás was killed
by a hired gunman who entered his home and shot him dead as he slept on 2 May
1993 (See UA 156/93, AMR 19/18/93). Investigations into this killing have
not progressed, although there are strong suspicions that a particular landowner
commissioned the killing. During the night of 8 January 1994 shots were fired
into the house where José Teixeira Castilho lives with his wife and five
children. The attempt on their lives was reported to the police, who reportedly
took no action to investigate.
On 10 February 1994, José Teixeira Castilho was detained without a warrant
in Eldorado do Carajás by two civil policemen who drove him to the town of
Marabá. In Marabá a judge then decreed his "temporary imprisonment" for five
days. He was detained reportedly on suspicion of involvement in an incident
in which the ranch house of the Abaéte Estate, owned by the previously mentioned
landowner had been burnt down. José Teixeira Castilho denies any involvement
in the incident.
The trade unionist's "temporary detention" was extended by the judge in unclear
circumstances, since the judge was himself absent from Marabá until 17 February.
By 1 March 1994 José Teixeira Castilho had been in detention for 20 days and
no charges had been brought against him. Lawyers representing him have been
refused access to information about the case against him. They have presented
a habeas corpus petition on his behalf to the Pará State Appeals Court in the
state capital Belém and to the Superior Appeals Court in the federal capital
Brasília. They have also sought for him to have access to drugs that he needs
to take on a daily basis as part of his medical treatment for Hansen's disease.
Under the "Temporary Imprisonment Law" (no.7,960 of 1989), Lei de Prisão
Temporária, suspects may be detained without charge for a five day period;
a judge may renew the detention for a further five days if there is "extreme
and proven necessity". Under the Law of Heinous Crimes (no.8,072 1990) Lei
de Crimes Hediondos, in the case of certain crimes "temporary imprisonment"
without charge may be decreed for 30 days, and is extendable for a further
30 days when there is "extreme and proven necessity".
Peasants members and leaders of rural trade unions in Pará state have been
targets of death threats, assaults, abductions and killing in the context of
land disputes with local landowners. While Amnesty International takes no
position on land disputes, the organization is concerned at persistent impunity