Defend Adilson Mariano against unjust prison sentence

Adilson Mariano is a PT councillor in the town of Joinville, Brazil. He has been sentenced to more than one year in prison for having led demonstrations against the unjustified increase in bus fares. Here we publish an appeal and model letter for you to send off to the authorities. Please participate massively in this campaign.
Read this appeal in Spanish and Portuguese

Dear comrades,

Adilson Mariano, a PT councillor in Joinville (Santa Caterina, Brazil) was sentenced to one year and three months in prison by the Brazilian courts. He was charged with "inciting protest" against increases in public transport fares during the month of May 2003. This is an absurd argument, as thousands of students and workers took to the streets for almost a week, paralysing the town centre. The movement wanted the mayor to withdraw the unjustified increase. However, feeling the scale of the problem the mayor decided to flee the country, on a very timely international trip, leaving the president of the municipal assembly to find a solution, who did not resolve anything.

The demonstrations were met with brutal police repression, transforming Joinville city centre into a "battlefield", which reminded us of the old times of the military dictatorship. Dozens of students were arrested. The private companies which had public transport concessions, holding on to a shameful monopoly for over forty years, pressed charges against Mariano. The Joinville courts proceeded and sentenced Mariano to prison.

This sentenced is part of the increasing criminalisation of the social movements by the bourgeoisie. They are targeting any militant who defends the rights of the workers of city and countryside, whether from the Landless Peasant Movement, the Trade Unions, the Movement of Occupied Factories, or even local councillors.

We are calling for solidarity action from all social, popular and labour movement organisations, as well as from those parliamentary representatives who are appalled by social injustices and arbitrary and antidemocratic actions which support the interests of big corporations while attacking the people's interests.

The Santa Caterina State Executive of the CUT (the main Brazilian trade union confederation) has decided to support the campaign calling for the withdrawal of the sentence. The Executive of the Santa Caterina PT has done the same. Below, there is a resolution to be sent to: the "Ministerio Publico Fiscal" [this should be in Portuguese] along with the appeal before the Court of Justice of Santa Catarina, Desembargador Joǎo Eduardo Souza Varella, and the president of the Santa Catarina Court of Justice, Desembargador Francisco José Rodrigues de Oliveria Filho,; copy of which should also be sent to Maritania, coordinator of the campaign, at: also provided here below.

For any query, you can also phone 0055 47 2101 3219 or 0055 47 8819 44321.

Statement of the Partido dos Trabalhadores

The State Executive of the Partido dos Trabalhadores, gathered on February 28, 2008, after hearing of the sentenced given to Councillor Adilson Mariano, by a Criminal Court judge of Joinville, publicly states:

The sentenced handed to Councillor Adilson Mariano, under the argument of "inciting protest" in the popular demonstrations against the increase of the urban public transport fares, which took place in May 2003, is an appalling infraction of article 29, paragraph VIII, of the Federal Constitution, which guarantees the immunity of council representative during any statements, opinions and public demonstrations, it not being possible to legally prosecute discipline any council representative for actions relating to the exercise of their mandate.

Apart from article 29 of the Federal Constitution, the sentence is an absurd attack on the constitutional rights of representation, freedom of expression and freedom to manifest ideas and defend rights, because it sentences the Councillor for supporting the workers and youth in defence of their rightful claims.

The Partido dos Trabalhadores repudiates this sentencing of Councillor Adilson Mariano, and firmly defends the independence of parliamentary action, as the Federal Constitution guarantees.

The Partido dos Trabalhadores will stand side by side with Councillor Adilson Mariano demanding that the Santa Catarina Court of Justice accepts the appeal asking for the sentence given in the First Instance to be repealed.

Luci Choinacki,

President of PT Santa Catarina.

Resolution supporting the acquittal of Councillor Adilson Mariano of the Partido dos Trabalhadores

Considering that:

Councillor Adilson Marinao, of the Partido dos Trabalhadores de Joinville - SC, was sentenced by the judge of the First Criminal Court, Renato Roberge, in December 2007, for allegedly "inciting" demonstrators to prevent urban public transport from functioning (article 262 of the Criminal Code) during popular demonstrations that took place in May 2003 against increases in bus fares in Joinville;

Considering that:

This sentence, in the First Instance, is of one year and three months prison and payment of a fine, to be replaced by community work and payment of a minimum penalty of two months wages for the benefit of a charitable institution;

Considering that:

Councillor Adilson Mariano has presented a draft Law questioning the legitimacy of the concession of the public transport service of Joinville to different private companies, a draft Law which is being discussed by the Joinville Council;

Considering that:

The defence of a legitimate popular claim, and that the exercise of the right to organise and demonstrate are part of the institutional functions of a councillor, and are protected in article 29, paragraph VIII, of the Federal Constitution, which guarantees the immunity of council representatives in relation to any statement, opinion or public demonstration, and guarantees them against any disciplinary measures or prosecution for any actions relating to their exercise of their democratic mandate;

Considering that:

Adilson Mariano is now in his second term as councillor and is considered one of the most active on Joinville Council, tirelessly defending the most humble and difficult causes which, generally speaking, affect the life the of workers in this country, victims of social inequality;

Considering that:

Councillor Adilson Mariano's lawyers have submitted an appeal before the State Court of Justice to modify the sentence in the First Instance, along with a Habeas Corpus based on the Constitutional norms, since all jurisprudence is unanimous in guaranteeing the inviolability of a councillor in relation to his opinions, statements or actions during the exercise of his public mandate;

Considering that:

This sentence is evidently partial and has a harmful political content, while the defence of the councillor is a political action of great importance against the criminalisation of the social movements and their defenders, for the defence of the right to freedom of expression and public demonstration;

We appeal to the Santa Catarina Court of Justice represented in the person of the Honourable Desembargador Joǎo Eduardo Souza Varella and the Honourables Desembargadores of the First Criminal Court to accept the judicial proceedings submitted in favour of Councillor Adilson Mariano, acting to protect his constitutional right to exercise his functions as councillor and to acquit him of an unjust sentence, guaranteeing freedom of speech and expression under the rule of law.

Name................. Organisation............................

Please send the above resolution to:

Excelentíssimo Presidente do Tribunal de Justiça do Estado de Santa Catarina
Desembargador Francisco José Rodrigues de Oliveira Filho
R. Álvaro Millen da Silveira, 208 - Centro
88020-901 Florianópolis - SC
Telefone: (048) 3221-1000
Fax: (048) 3221-1200

Excelentíssimo Relator da Primeira da Câmara Criminal do Tribunal de Justiça do Estado de Santa Catarina
Desembargador João Eduardo Souza Varella
R. Álvaro Millen da Silveira, 208 - Centro
88020-901 Florianópolis - SC
Telefone: (048) 3221-1000
Fax: (048) 3221-1200

And a CC copy to comrade Maritania, coordinator of the campaign,

See also: