By Chesney Hearst, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Eighteen of 23 activists accused of violent acts in Rio de Janeiro during protests held in August of last year and/or possessing explosives while plotting violence during the World Cup, remain classified as fugitives while lawyers for several activists currently jailed argue for the release of their clients.
On Saturday, July 19th, the Delegacia de Repressão aos Crimes de Informática (The Department for Repression of Information Crimes) or DRCI, a unit of the Rio de Janeiro civil police force, initiated an operation to pick up eighteen activists with outstanding arrest warrants issued by 27th Criminal Court of the capital. However, none of the eighteen were located on Saturday.
Five of the twenty-three activists were previously arrested with fourteen others on Saturday, July 12th, the eve of the World Cup final match held in Maracanã Stadium in Rio de Janeiro. During tournament’s final day, police went on to crush a protest in the Rio Zona Norte (North Zone) neighborhood of Tijuca.
Twelve of the activists arrested on the July 12th were later released on the following Tuesday, July 15th, while five others; Elisa de Quadros Pinto Sanzi, also known as Sininho (Tinkerbell), Igor Pereira D’Icarahy, Camila Jourdan, Fabio Raposo Barbosa and Caio Silva Rangel, remain in jail.
“None of these protesters fulfills the requirements to remain imprisoned,” Marino D’Icarahy, the lawyer of nine of the activists including his own son Igor Pereira D’Icarahy, his son’s girlfriend Camila Jourdan, told Agência Brasil. “In a democratic state,” he added, “they have the right to respond to the legal process [charges] while remaining free.”
However, Luís Otávio Figueira Lopes, the prosecutor in the case stated that the arrests were necessary to “maintain public order” and that the jailed activists had participated in “acts of violence during in popular demonstrations, and in this case there is clear evidence that, if freed, they would return to acts of a similar nature.”
Elisa de Quadros Pinto Sanzi, better known as Sininho (Tinkerbell), is considered to be one of the main leaders of the Frente Independente Popular (Independent Popular Front) or FIP, a group that reportedly sought to unite other groups of protestors, including the Internationalist Front of the Homeless (FIST), Anonymous Rio, and Popular Revolutionary Student Movement (MEPR), among others.
Arrest warrants for members of the Black Bloc movement in Rio were also included in those issued on Saturday. In the compliant several Black Bloc members, were sited for the practice of violent acts including; throwing Molotov cocktails during demonstrations, and using knives, explosives, firecrackers and modified nail guns.
Attorneys for the accused are arguing against both the imprisonment of their clients and the original charges. Lucas Sada, a lawyer from the Union of Journalists of Rio and the Institute of Human Rights Defenders (HRDs) and representative of six clients currently classified as fugitives, said the complaint is ridiculous.
In regards to one client, Joseane Maria Araújo de Freitas, Sada added, “He participated in demonstrations, yes, but never participated in any confrontation with the police and has no link with the Black Bloc.”
Both Sada and attorney João Tancredo, lawyer for another accused Black Bloc member, plan to petition for writs of habeas corpus for their clients.
Read more (in Portuguese).
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