sábado, 5 de abril de 2008
Brazil: Death threats against human rights defender and legal expert Dr Daniel Ponte.
Brazil: Death threats against human rights defender and legal expert Dr Daniel Ponte
Front Line is gravely concerned following reports of death threats against human rights defender, lawyer and professor Dr Daniel Ponte. He is a legal expert and physician at the Legal Medical Institute (IMLAP) in Rio de Janeiro. He was the Vice-Director of IMLAP between 2005 and 2006.
Posted 18/03/2008 Dr Daniel Ponte has been involved in publicly denouncing corrupt practices at the IMLAP. He has reported several cases of corruption and irregularities in the forensic service; involving public servants, policemen and high-rank officials. These irregularities include illegal charging for the release of corpses, adverse working conditions and fraudulent use of the public tender legislation, at both state and federal level. Dr Daniel Ponte reported the aforementioned irregularities to the Human Rights Commission of the Legislative Assembly of Rio de Janeiro State and the Public Ministry of the Rio de Janeiro State. The Physicians Syndicate of Rio de Janeiro denounced the irregularities to the Brazilian Order of Lawyers (OAB) and to local journalists in July 2007, and subsequently Dr Ponte became the subject of death threats.
Dr Daniel Ponte believes that his life is in imminent danger. He has reported incidents whereby he has been warned of plans to assassinate him. On one occasion a court officer told him that Police Inspector Aristóteles Marques would take revenge for Dr Ponte's denouncements of corruption.
In December 2006, autopsy assistant Alexandre Várzea warned Dr Ponte of death threats. On another occasion, at the building of the Police Ombudsman's Office, Police Inspector Marques reportedly told him "You can stay cool. They told you that I will catch you, but those I have caught didn't know of my intentions, and I have caught a lot". This threat was witnessed by Dr. Miriam Gonçalves, Dr Ponte's lawyer. On the fourth occasion, in January 2007, he was informed by Alexandre Várzea that Police Inspector Marques was in a bar, close to the forensic institute, with a number of police officers, discussing his assassination plans. Alexandre Várzea also reported having heard the Police Inspector saying that Dr Ponte "would appear cold on a morgue table". Forensic scientist Alexandre Várzea was killed, in August 2007, in an alleged motorcycle accident before he could testify to the authorities.
Furthermore Commissioner Alexandre Neto, of the Anti-Kidnapping Division (DAS/RJ), who submitted a signed declaration on the gravity of the situation, was shot and hit with five bullets, on 2 September 2007, seven days after Alexandre Várzea's died. He survived the assassination attempt but lost a finger on the right hand and fears that his life is still at risk.
Front Line believes that Dr Daniel Ponte has been targeted as a result of his legitimate human rights activities, in particular his work to reveal irregularities and criminal activities being carried out at the IMLAP, in the interests of its workers and patients. Front Line is extremely concerned for the security and physical and psychological integrity of Dr Daniel Ponte, and fears that he may be in grave danger
às sábado, abril 05, 2008