Case History: Marinalva Santana
Since March 2014, Grupo Matizes and its employee Ms Marinalva Santana have been receiving death threats from an anti-LGBTI group called Irmandade Homofobica.
LGBT rights defender and teacher Marinalva Santana is a founding member of Grupo Matizes, which works to defend the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender persons in Teresina, Piauí State. Widespread social hostility to the issue of LGBT rights has placed the NGO and its workers at serious risk. Marinalva Santana is also a committee member of the Conselho Municipal LGBT, founded in 2010 to lobby for the rights of the LGBT community politically.
On 9 June 2014, a death threat against LGBT human rights defenders was received on the mobile phone of Mr André Santos, President of Conselho Municipal LGBT de Teresina (LGBT Municipal Council of Teresina).
The text message is the latest in a series of death threats issued against LGBT rights organisations in Piauí State, including Grupo Matizes (Shades of Colour Group) and its employee Ms Marinalva Santana.
On the morning of 9 June 2014, a text message was sent to the mobile phone of André Santos from a group calling itself Irmandade Homofobica (Homophobic Brotherhood). It stated: “Us from the cult do not want this council working. We are 18 members and if you don't stop we will eliminate you all. We know you and the president. We know where you live and much more. Until tomorrow.”
Since March 2014, Grupo Matizes has been receiving death threats from Irmandade Homofobica. On 5 March 2014, threats were directed at Marinalva Santana after she made a statement to the press expressing the possibility that the persons making threats were the same ones who physically attacked a group of transvestites in 2013. The death threat was made through social networking media, stating, “the homophobic brotherhood sends its regards, you are going to die“ with a picture of Marinalva Santana. This group has been threatening members of the LGBT community since February 2014 and has issued the majority of its threats on social media. Although the threats are being investigated by local authorities and have been highlighted by the local media, Irmandade Homofobica has continued in its intimidation. An investigation at the State level and another at the Federal level are ongoing regarding the threats, although there have been criticisms that they are moving too slowly as they have not yet yielded results. The Federal Programme for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders is also following the case.