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Federal Public Ministry [MPF] Asks the Superior Court of Justice [STJ] for Pretrial Detention of American pilots

Joseph Lepore and Jan Paul Paladino Face Criminal Charges in Brazil for Having Caused the Death of 154 People

CURITIBA, BRAZIL -- (Marketwired) -- 06/03/14 -- The Association of Family and Friends of the Victims of Flight 1907 is celebrating the action of the Assistant Attorney General of the Republic, Lindôra Maria Araujo, who requested the Superior Court of Justice last Monday (May 26), pretrial detention for the purpose of extradition in the case of American pilots Joseph Lepore and Jan Paul Paladino, who face criminal charges in Brazil for causing the crash of GOL's Boeing aircraft and the death of the 154 passengers on flight 1907 on September 29, 2006.

Since December 2006, the two defendants have been at liberty, living in the United States. Despite having promised to return to Brazil to appear for all proceedings, they are now refusing to be subject to Brazilian jurisdiction. In the request, the Assistant Attorney General stresses: "The defendants, while still appellants, lied once again to the Brazilian Courts when they promised to return to Brazil to be held accountable for their actions. They did not appear for proceedings within the country or at the Brazilian Consulate in the United States, and most certainly will never come to the country on their own volition to subject themselves to the inevitable penalty they must face," she said.

In the request, the MPF stresses that there are at least two applicable alternative means of international penal cooperation in criminal matters, such as extradition from the US to Brazil, based on the Extradition Treaty signed in 1961, and also through the principle of reciprocity for similar crimes, in the objective sense, aside from the Conventions signed by the two countries in relation to civil aviation security. "More than 150 people lost their lives because of Paladino and Lepore. In contrast, the accused have not even lost their right to fly, and continue to fly in the United States, putting so many other citizens, including Brazilians, at risk, be they passengers on their aircraft, or from other aircraft that cross the same air route," she emphasized.

Attorney Eduardo Saldanha, a PhD in International Law, is representing the Association of Family and Friends of the Victims of Flight 1907 in various international actions. "We understand that the request for pretrial detention with a view to extradition of the accused is fundamental to guaranteeing that they come to serve the sentence handed down by the Brazilian court, and we have legal means, based on International Treaties, for them to be extradited," he emphasized.

Should the request for extradition be denied, it may be required to apply the principle of aut dedere aut judicare in order that that those accused in Brazil are tried in the United States. "If this occured, we shall count on the support of a United States law firm to assist in the process of local criminal prosecution. Such a measure is justified, considering the need to exhaust applicable measures in order to effect the punishment of individuals accused of the homicide of 154 persons by the Brazilian court system, regardless of the method of assessing guilt," he affirms.

Saldanha also explains that, along with this request, other international measures shall be taken, among them a request for the legal review, in the United States, of the 2011 FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) administrative decision in which the agency claimed there was no evidence supporting the revocation of the pilots' licenses. "Based on precedents of the agency itself, which has revoked the licenses of other pilots for less serious offenses, we shall request that the Court review this decision and not permit the two to continue to fly," he clarifies.

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