Court suspends appointment of Intelligence Agent to coordinate relations with NGOs

At the request of Conectas, a São Paulo Federal Court suspended the decree that appointed the agent to the position of liaison with civil society

Headquarters of Abin (Brazilian Intelligence Agency) in Brasília. Photo: reproduction Headquarters of Abin (Brazilian Intelligence Agency) in Brasília. Photo: reproduction

A Federal Court in São Paulo suspended on Friday, June 19, the appointment of an agent of Abin (Brazilian Intelligence Agency) to head up the government department responsible for relations with civil society organizations.

The decision was given in response to the Public Civil Action filed by Conectas Human Rights that challenged the appointment, in March, of an intelligence service agent identified only by registration number 910004 to the position of General Coordinator of Liaison with Civil Society Organizations. The use of the registration number instead of the person’s name is standard practice to avoid revealing the identity of Abin agents.

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The Department of Relations with International Organizations and Civil Society Organizations of the Special Secretariat of Social Coordination is responsible for engaging in dialogue with international organizations and with civil society organizations on issues of concern to the Presidency of the Republic.

In his order, the judge claims that the secrecy of the employee’s identity, imposed by their position as an intelligence service agent, prevents them from doing the job for which they were appointed and he forbids the appointment of any other Abin agent to the position.

“The interaction of the employee in question with civil society and other international organizations is alarming, since they cannot be identified on account of the secrecy of their identity. In principle, this prevents them from doing the job to which they were appointed, thereby diverting their public purpose,” said the judge in his order.

“Since the start of his government, President Jair Bolsonaro has treated civil society as an enemy. As such, the appointment of someone who cannot be identified to engage in dialogue with NGOs is hardly surprising,” said Camila Asano, program director at Conectas Human Rights. “In a democratic country, civil society should never be a subject for professionals whose work involves espionage,” she added. 

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