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Federal judge closes investigation into journalist Vladimir Herzog's murder in 1975

(ABRAJI/IFEX) - Federal Justice Paula Mantovani Avelino has issued an order calling for the closure of the investigation into the death of journalist Vladimir Herzog. Herzog died while Brazil was under military rule (1964-1984). Justice Avelino's decision rejects requests by state prosecutors who have argued that Herzog's murder could be considered a crime against humanity.

In a federal court official notice, Justice Avelino argued that the legal time frame for the case has expired ("prescreveu") and rejected the feasibility of having it characterised as a crime against humanity. According to the judge, there is no existing juridical norm in the Brazilian Penal Code that could be employed to determine penalties for crimes against humanity.

The closure of the case also included the archiving of all investigations into the death of Luiz José da Cunha, alias "Crioulo", who was allegedly killed in September 1973.

Both deaths took place over 35 years ago, which is longer than the maximum penalty for homicide contemplated in the Brazilian Penal Code.

ABRAJI Director Plínio Bortolotti said, "Vladmir Herzog is a symbol of press freedom for Brazilian journalists. His death triggered awareness among many Brazilians of the need to fight for democratic freedom. One could say that his death may have led to the end of the military dictatorship".

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