GOOD NEWS! ON 21 DECEMBER, A JUDGE IN SAO PAOLO DECIDED TO LIBERATE IOLANDA FIGUERAL, EXPLAINING THAT THIS WAS AN ‘EXCEPTIONAL SITUATION’. WE DON’T KNOW IF OUR LETTER CAMPAIGN CONTRIBUTED TO THIS RESULT, BUT ANYWAY THANKS FOR YOUR SUPPORT!!!
On 6 December the court of Campinas (Sao Paulo, Brazil) sentenced Iolanda Figueiral, 79 years old, ovary and intestinal cancer victim, and her son, Carlos Roberto de Almeida, 40 years old, to four years in prison in a closed regime.
Charged for drug trafficking (four months ago the police found 19 crack stones, less than 17 grams, at her house in Campinas), they don’t have the right to stay free while appealing, since the crime is considered an hideous one.
A former judge from Río de Janeiro, Mrs. María Luiza Karam, has taken the initiative for the following letter of protest to Brazilian authorities. We ask you to sign and send it.
OPEN LETTER TO BRAZILIAN AUTHORITIES
Dear Madam, Sir,
As noticed by the newspaper Folha de São Paulo on the 28th of November and 6th of December 2005, Brazilian criminal justice has condemned, under the charge of drug trafficking, Mrs. Iolanda Figueiral, 79 years old, who suffers of cancer in a terminal phase and weights less than 40 kilos, to 4 years in prison.
Condemning and keeping in jail a person under such conditions immediately reveals insensibility and, therefore, inequity, also revealing a clamorous violation of fundamental rights as proclaimed in the universal declarations and in the Brazilian Constitution.
As noticed on the reporting of Folha de São Paulo, the judge of the 6th Criminal Section of the city of Campinas and the Court of Justice of the State of São Paulo denied to release the detention invoking a prohibition established by Brazilian law 8.072/90 that would restrain freedom, during criminal procedures, of all people under some criminal charges such as illegal drug trafficking. In the sentence, the judge of the 6th criminal section of the city of Campinas again denied her the possibility of remaining free while waiting for the appeal process, invoking the same prohibition contained in the law 8.072/90.
No law could justify the insensibility, the inequity and the violation of fundamental rights that are clearly revealed in the detention and conviction of a 79 years old person, suffering of cancer in a terminal phase and weighting less than 40 kilos. But the invoked law itself, as restraining freedom during criminal procedures, violates the fundamental right to the guaranty of the state of innocence, as proclaimed in paragraph 1 of article 11 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, in paragraph 2 of article 14 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and in item LVII of article 5th of the Brazilian Federal Constitution.
Many other violations of fundamental rights are comprised on the three UN Conventions in the matter of illegal drugs and on internal laws of many national States, including Brazil, that, having signed those conventions and following their guidelines, impose the criminalization of actions related to production, distribution and consumption of psychoactive substances and raw materials for their production.
The application of the repressive rules of the three UN Conventions shows an enormous failure on the aim of controlling the distribution of the drugs which are currently illegal. This failure is attested even by the reports issued by the UNODC, which point out a continued increase of consumption.
Besides failure, besides many violations of fundamental rights, the criminalization of actions related to production, distribution and consumption of illegal drugs has been the main cause of increasing detentions all over the world, that deprive millions of people of liberty to the point that reaches, as it happens in the reported case, a 79 years old woman, who suffers of cancer in a terminal phase and weights less than 40 kilos.
We trust that Brazilian judicial authorities will put an end to the insensible, unfair and serious violation of fundamental rights that reaches Mrs. Iolanda Figueiral. And we hope that the irreparable pain that is imposed to her at least may help the Government and the Parliament of Brazil to measure the harms caused by the worthless politics of criminalization, to review the laws that are opposite to the universal declarations of human and civil rights and to the Brazilian Constitution, and to mobilize themselves to make the United Nations start a process of reform of their conventions in order to establish a system of legal control and regulation of production, distribution and consumption of all psychoactive substances and raw materials for their production.
Please send this letter to:
[Minister of Justice of Brazil]
Doutor Márcio Thomaz Bastos, Ministro de Estado da Justiça da República Federativa do Brasil.
E-mail: email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
[President of the Supreme Court of Brazil]
Ministro Nelson Jobim, Presidente do Supremo Tribunal Federal da República Federativa do Brasil.
Secretaria Geral da Presidência do Supremo Tribunal Federal:
[President of the Superior Court of Justice of Brazil]
Ministro Edson Vidigal, Presidente do Superior Tribunal de Justiça da República Federativa do Brasil.
[President of the Senate of Brazil]
Senador Renan Calheiros, Presidente do Senado Federal da República Federativa do Brasil.
[President of the Chamber of Deputies of Brazil]
Deputado Aldo Rebelo, Presidente da Câmara dos Deputados da República Federativa do Brasil.
More information on the case of Iolanda is available here