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Brazil: Killing of Human Rights Defender Diego Luiz Berbare Bandeira
On 23 August 2012 lawyer and human rights defender Mr Diego Luiz Berbare Bandeira was killed in front of his home in the city of Caraguataba, São Paulo state.
Diego Luiz Berbare Bandeira was a member of the Comissão de Direitos Humanos da OAB-SP (Human Rights Commission of the Brazilian Bar Association in São Paulo), where he had made formal complaints concerning abuses of authority committed by civil and military police, prison directors and other authorities.
On 23 August 2012, at approximately 6.40 pm, Diego Luiz Berbare Bandeira was shot at 14 times in front of his home in the Rio do Ouro neighbourhood of Caraguatatuba. Two unidentified men on a motorcycle fired at the human rights defender before fleeing the scene.
In June 2012, Diego Luiz Berbare Bandeira had filed complaints regarding corruption, the use of torture and lack of medical care at the Centro de Detenção Provisória de Caraguatatuba (Temporary Detention Centre in Caraguatatuba). Within his report he named certain military officers who are allegedly engaged in drug trafficking. On 19 June 2012 during a meeting at the Legislative Assembly in São Paulo, the human rights defender reported that he had been receiving threats from persons concerned by his reports to the Human Rights Commission.
Front Line Defenders believes that the killing of Diego Luiz Berbare Bandeira is directly related to his work in the defence of human rights and in particular his reporting of abuses of authority by military and civil police in the city of Caraguatatuba. This latest killing comes in a context of grave risk to human rights defenders fighting against corruption and denouncing misconduct by state agents, and in particular the police force in Brazil. Judges and lawyers who engage in such actions are often putting themselves at risk, with the Associação dos Magistrados Brasileiros (Association of Brazilian Magistrates) recording 400 cases of judges who have reported receiving threats. 11 August 2012 marked the first anniversary of the killing of human rights defender and judge Ms Patricia Acioli who was shot 21 times by two police officers in front of her home in Niteroi, Rio de Janeiro state. Eleven police officers have been indicted for their involvement in the crime.