Brazil: Transvestite Murdered

Gisele Gagá (Luiz Gastao Pereira Sobrinho), a transvestite prostitute and a well known activist from Curitiba, was shot dead at point blank range by an off-duty military policeman, Valmir Partala, on the night of 31 January 1995. Partala claims that he acted in self-defense, stating that he was the victim of sexual harassment and that Gisele tore his clothes with a knife and scratched him with her nails. His account is disputed by numerous witnesses, who state that Gisele was unarmed and did not have long nails, and that Partala's clothes were not ripped when he fled. Local activists believe that the incident occurred because Partala was trying to demand sexual favors from Gisele without payment.

Because Brazilian law still permits the acquittal of perpetrators of murder/manslaughter on the grounds of "legitima defesa da honra" (legitimate defense of one's honor), it seems likely that Partala will try to escape punishment on these terms. Activists in Brazil are concerned that this incident be treated as a serious crime and that Partala be brought to justice.

Urgent letters are needed making the following points:

  1. Crimes of murder should be treated as murder. Defenses like "legitima defesa da honra" serve to diminish the seriousness of the crime and allow the perpetrator to act with impunity.
  2. Violent crimes must be taken all the more seriously when committed by members of the military police.
  3. Letter writers should make inquiries about the ways in which this case is being investigated and about what further actions are being taken. In referring to the case, letters should include the Inquiry number ("Inquérito"): 42 95.

Write to:

Governador do Estado do Paraná
Jaime Lerner
Palácio Iguaçu
80530-909 Curitiba - PR
Fax: +55 41 254-7345
Secretário de Estado da Segurança Publica
Dr. Candido Manuel Martins do Oliveira
Rua Dep. Mário de Barros, 1290
80530-913 Curitiba - PR
Fax: +55-41-254-7024
Secretário de Estado da Justiça e da Cidadania
Dr. Edson Vidal Pinto
Rua Mal Hermes, 751-40 andar
80530-230 Curitiba - PR
Fax: +55-41-254-8838
Procurador Geral da Justiça
Dr. Olimpio de Sá Sotto Maior Neto
Palácio da Justiça
Praça Nossa Senhor da Salete, s/n-60 andar
80530-912 Curitiba - PR
Fax: +55-41-252-2929 ram 206