Brazilian law student faces jail for ´racist´ Twitter election outburst
A Brazilian law student could face criminal prosecution after allegedly making racist comments on Twitter and Facebook following her country’s election results.
By Robin Yapp, Sao Paulo
Published: 8:17PM GMT 04 Nov 2010
do britânico The Telegraph (via Érica Caminha, no Facebook)
Mayara Petruso used the social networking websites to blame people in the poverty-stricken north-east of Brazil for the victory of Dilma Rousseff, of the left-wing ruling Workers´ Party.
The OAB, Brazil´s equivalent of the Bar Association, in the north-eastern state of Pernambuco filed a request to open a criminal case against her at the Federal Public Ministry of Sao Paulo.
The law firm in Sao Paulo where she worked as an intern also confirmed that Miss Petruso was no longer working for them and condemned the comments.
Miss Petruso prompted a series of comments, some critical and others agreeing with her, after writing on her Twitter account: “Northeastern is not us. Do a favour to SP [Sao Paulo]: kill a northeasterner, drowned.”
She later wrote on Facebook that allowing people in the north east to vote threatened to “sink the country who worked to support the bums”.
Black and mixed-race Brazilians outnumber the white population in much of the north east, whereas the white population is larger in most of the wealthier south.
If the case goes to court she would face charges of racism, which carries a sentence of between two and five years imprisonment, and incitement to murder on the internet, which is punishable by three to six months imprisonment or a fine.
Miss Rousseff won the national election to succeed President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva on Sunday with 56 per cent of the votes compared to 44 per cent for Jose Serra, of the centrist Brazilian Social Democracy Party (PSDB).
She received more than 70 per cent of the vote in parts of the north east but an analysis published in the Brazilian press suggested that she had enough votes to win even without the huge margin of victory in some of the poorest states.
Miss Petruso closed her social networking accounts after generating a wave of publicity but the OAB obtained copies of the pages featuring her comments and identified the author.
“It is inconceivable that a law student has attitudes contrary to the social function of their profession,” said Henry Mariano, president of the OAB in Pernambuco. “How will someone with this behavior become a professional who needs to defend justice and human rights?”
Mr Mariano said that there is no deadline for prosecutors to make a decision on the case and whether to take it to court.
He added that other people who had made comments on the websites supporting Miss Petruso could also face separate prosecutions.
Peixoto e Cury Advogados, the firm in São Paulo at which Miss Petruso worked, said in a statement: “With much gravity and indignation, Peixoto e Cury Advogados regrets the unfortunate personal opinions issued on the social networking sites, which we only became aware of through the media.”