Public statement on the recent arrests in Rio de Janeiro
Criminal Justice Network denounces misuse of justice system for authoritarian purposes
The Criminal Justice System is a group of organizations that works towards the construction of a criminal justice system that is fair, efficient and that guarantees the fundamental rights of citizens.
Given the current backdrop of constant violations of freedom of expression, we hereby take a stand against the arbitrary acts committed over the past few days in Rio de Janeiro and demonstrate our support for the human rights defenders and activists who are being targeted by these violations.
The recent arrests on catch-all charges and, so it would appear, as part of an investigation based on future and uncertain events, is indicative of the growing crackdown by the authorities when dealing with freedom of expression and freedom of association, given that the response to the exercise of constitutional rights has been the repressive arm of the State.
The criminalization of the practice of law by professionals who provide legal advice to activists is serious, and represents a clear and obvious confusion between the role played by lawyers and by their clients. From what we hear in the press, lawyers have had their telephones tapped – and some have been detained – merely for being the lawyers of demonstrators, which is unacceptable.
These recent episodes are symptoms of our criminal justice system that functions through irrational incarceration and punishment, a far cry from the guiding principles of the Federal Constitution of 1988 and international human rights norms.
The Criminal Justice Network condemns the misuse of the criminal justice system to serve anti-democratic interests and defends the inalienable right to protest and to freedom of association by any citizen.
São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, July 24