MST International Relations Sector
DATE: July 29, 2003 NOTE TO SOCIETY
On July 11th, Jos� Rainha Junior attended a court hearing in Teodoro Sampaio. The prosecution witnesses were giving evidence in the case in which he has been charged with obstructing a work place - he allegedly organized a protest in Banco do Brazil and Banespa in 2000.
Once the hearing was over, the county judge in Teodoro Sampaio, �tis de Ara�jo de Oliveira, asked the military police to enter the room. The policemen arrested Jos� Rainha Junior, who was handcuffed and taken to Teodoro Sampaio Police Station.
Such practice is routine. In Brazil, five agrarian reform activists were arrested after they had voluntarily appeared in court in order to testify before the judge.
The prison order was served against Jos� Rainha, Felinto Proc�pio dos Santos (Mineirinho), M�rcio Barreto, Cl�dson Mendes and S�rgio Pantale�o. Mineirinho only went to the police station to visit Jos� Rainha, and was also arrested. The others, following instructions from their solicitors, reserved the right to resist arrest while waiting for the judgment of their habeas corpus request.
While Gilmar Mauro of the National Direction of the MST, escorted by the solicitor from the Social Network for Justice and Human Rights and Roberto Rainha, attended court requesting to see the records for their prison order, they were told that the records would be kept in secret of justice for 24 hours. So far, the solicitors have not had access to the records of the case.
Even the judge of the court of appeals, Gercino Jos� da Silva Filho and the National Agrarian Magistrate pleaded unsuccessfully to the judge to allow the MST solicitors to have copies of the court case.
This is one more of the many arbitrary actions by the judge, �tis de Ara�jo Oliveira, who in one of his rulings even compared the MST with the criminal organization PCC. This is an attempt to criminalize the struggle of the landless women and men for their constitutional right to the agrarian reform.
From May 2002 to date 29 decrees of preventive custody were elaborated against the members of the MST, in Teodoro Sampaio/SP county. Such facts portray the greatest attempt to criminalize the social movements that struggle for agrarian reform in the country. It was an attempt though, since 24 of those decrees were revoked by the Criminal Court of appeals, by the Court of Justice in S�o Paulo or by Superior Court of Justice. Only the last decree which ordered the arrest of five members of the MST, has not been revoked yet. In this law suit, since the 11th, the judge in Teodoro Sampaio has not allowed the solicitors to access the records of the case.
We ask all of you to send messages in solidarity with the prisoners, protesting against the arbitrary decisions of judge �TIS ARA�JO OLIVEIRA. and requesting his removal from court cases involving members of the MST since his sentences are biased and undermined by political prejudice.
Please send letters to:
Exmo. Sr. Dr. Juiz de Direito �tis de Ara�jo Oliveira
Teodoro Sampaio Court House
Rua Passeio Curi�, n.� 4 e 5 � Vila S�o Paulo - Teodoro Sampaio / SP
CEP 19280-000 Fax: (18) 282-1152
Exmo. Sr. Ministro Nilson Vital Naves
President of the Superior Court of Justice
SAFS - Quadra 06 - Lote 01 - Trecho III - CEP 70095-900
Bras�lia - DF
Fax: (61) 319-8193 - 319-8194 - 319-8195
Exmo. Sr. Desembargador Sergio Augusto Nigro Concei��o
President of Court of Justice of S�o Paulo State
Pra�a da S�, s/n - S�o Paulo - SP - CEP 01018.010
Fax: (11) 3242-6890
Exmo. Sr. Dr. Juiz Jos� Renato Nalini
President of the Criminal Court
Pra�a Jo�o Mendes s/n - CEP 01501-900, S�o Paulo/SP
Exmo. Sr. Geraldo Alckimin
Governor of S�o Paulo State
Fax: 11 3745 3621
Exmo. Sr. Secret�rio Alexandre de Moraes
Secretary of Justice and Defense of the citizenship of S�o Paulo State
Fax: 11 3291 2600
SAMPLE LETTER (feel free to use or write your own)
Dear Hon. _____,
I am writing to you today with grave concern for the arbitrary arrests of five agrarian reform activists -Jos� Rainha, Felinto Proc�pio dos Santos (Mineirinho), M�rcio Barreto, Cl�dson Mendes and S�rgio Pantale�o - who were arrested after they had voluntarily appeared in court in order to testify before Judge �tis Ara�jo Oliveira. Understanding your deep commitment to justice and human rights, I am writing to urge you to demand the solicitors access to the records of the case. I am also writing to request Judge Oliveira�s removal from all court cases involving members of the MST since his sentences are biased and undermined by political prejudice.
I urge that your honor end the decrees of preventive custody elaborated against the members of the MST in Teodoro Sampaio/SP county that attempt to criminalize the MST�s struggle for agrarian reform. The efforts of courageous people of Brazil who are constructing an example of justice and equality does not go unnoticed.
I appreciate your urgent attention to the matters discussed above.