In the wake of another murder of an authority in Brazil the Brazilian Association of Judges (Associação de Magistrados Brasileiros – AMB) has made a formal request for a special task force to investigate the assassination of Patrícia Acioli, a Rio de Janeiro judge who was murdered Thursday night, August 11, as she arrived at her home in Niterói.
In a letter to the minister of Justice, José Eduardo Cardozo, the president of the AMB, Nelson Calandra, said that the association was demanding a rapid and energetic investigation of the crime.
“When a judge is attacked, the state is attacked, along with democracy and Brazilian society,” said the letter. “We will not rest until those responsible for this atrocity have been found and punished.”
Patricia Acioli was a judge at the 4th Criminal Court in São Gonçalo, in the metropolitan region of Rio de Janeiro. She was known for dealing sternly with death squads, militias and local mafia-type organizations that control contraband fuel distribution and illegal transportation in the region (“mafia dos vans”).
The groups known as “milícias,” are generally former policemen (sometimes firemen, as well) who elbow out drug traffickers so they can exploit slum areas. Judge Acioli took an especially hardliner position on cases of police abuse, having sent a number of corrupt policemen to jail. There is strong evidence that some of these groups were in favor of her death.
The police hotline known as Disque Denúncia (Dial your Lead) received until this Monday morning 71 calls with information that could lead to judge’s assassins. She was hit by 21 shots.
According to Humberto Nascimento, a cousin of the murdered judge, police officers in Rio held a barbecue this weekend to celebrate the murder of Acioli. Nascimento made the accusations during protests by friends and relatives of the victim in front of the 4th Criminal Court of São Gonçalo, in the Greater Rio, early Monday afternoon.
At least three commissions in Brazil’s Chamber of Deputies are scheduled to hold hearings regarding charges of irregularities in the Ministry of Tourism this week.
The commissions of Financial Control and Oversight, Consumer Affairs and Tourism and Sports have all approved invitations for minister Pedro Novais to explain the charges of fraud in contracts.
Special attention will be given to contracts with a non-governmental organization known as Ibrasi (Instituto Brasileiro de Desenvolvimento de Infraestrutura Sustentável) for training 1,900 tourism professionals in Amapá.
Last week, a Federal Police operation (Operação Voucher) arrested 36 people with connections to the Ministry of Tourism’s contracts with Ibrasi, including the second highest ranking bureaucrat there, the executive secretary, Frederico Silva da Costa, and the former president of the Brazilian Tourism Corporation (Embratur), Mario Moyses. However, even before the week was out all of them had been released on writs of habeas corpus.
As a result of the arrests and ongoing investigation, ministry spokespersons have announced a series of changes in rules governing contracts.
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