Pedro Henrique Santos Cruz Souza

The activist Pedro Henrique Santos Cruz Souza, 31, had been denouncing police violence in Bahia since 2012 after he himself had been victim of police brutality. From then on, he began to receive and forward complaints of other crimes committed by police officers on behalf of others. This was his life’s mission. “So long as I am alive, I will defend myself and speak up for those who have no voice,” he said.

At dawn on December 27 2018, at least three men were looking for Pedro in Tucano, 252 km from Salvador. They forcibly entered Pedro’s father’s house, located in the Matadouro neighborhood, but Pedro was not there. The three men then forced a neighbour under threat to tell them where Pedro was. At 4 am, the trio then forced entry into the house where Pedro was and opened fire, killing Pedro instantly.

The activist was seen as a problem for police officers of Tucano, according to his relatives. Following his complaint in 2012, the police involved in the case were punished. It was at this time that Pedro started the “Walk for Peace” with the intention of highlighting illegalities committed by state agents. He held this walk for six consecutive years in Tucano.

“The police believed that the walk was a protest against them. Pedro knew that this could happen [being murdered], but he was determined. In the last few days, he was very apprehensive. He would spend New Year in Tucano with his father, he was afraid to stay there and wanted to come to Salvador soon. He was frightened,” said Ana Maria Cruz, 53, the activist’s mother, who is a teacher.

His mother said that Pedro was trying to convince the mother of a person whose house was invaded by police to travel to Salvador to report the violation. This was the last denunciation that the young man would make before he was murdered.

The crime is being investigated by the Civil Police and the Public Prosecutor’s Office of Bahia (MP-BA), who prefer not to give out information on the case to avoid prejudicing the findings. No one has been arrested so far.

Source: Bem Blogado

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Date of Killing:27/12/2018

Previous Threats:Yes

Type of Work:Social protester


Sector or Type of Rights the HRD Worked On:ESC Rights

Sector Detail:Abuse of power/corruption, Impunity/Justice

More information:Front Line Defenders

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