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JOURNALISM IN THE AMERICAS Blog

Complaint against journalist Glenn Greenwald is rejected by Brazilian court



After a judge rejected a complaint to indict him for involvement with hackers who accessed Telegram messages from several Brazilian authorities, U.S. journalist Glenn Greenwald said that he is going to the Supreme Court in search of a decision that guarantees more clearly what the federal constitution says.

“This [rejection of the complaint] is not enough for us. Our lawyers will go to the STF [Supreme Federal Court] to request a decision that makes it clear that this complaint is not only contrary to a previous STF decision, but much more than that, like almost all media and freedom of expression organizations in Brazil and in the world recognize. [...] Our lawyers will go to the STF to get a decision that makes that very clear,” Greenwald said in a video posted on Twitter.

Greenwald, founder of the sites The Intercept and The Intercept Brasil, was charged on Jan. 21 by a federal prosecutor for hacking a computing device, illegal interception of communications and criminal association.

The case is part of the Vaza-Jato series of reports, which revealed conversations between then-federal judge Sergio Moro, now Minister of Justice, prosecutor Deltan Dallagnol, who leads the task force of Operation Lava-Jato and other members of the team responsible for the investigation that arrested several politicians and businessmen for corruption.

Greenwald's motivation to continue with the legal dispute lies in the decision itself that rejected the complaint against him. In it, the substitute judge of the 10th Federal Court of the Federal District, Ricardo Leite, says that he agrees with the assessment that "the journalist 'incited' hackers' invasions and recommended ways to destroy evidence," wrote Leonardo Sakamoto for UOL. The judge also writes that it is not possible "to use the privilege of source confidentiality to create an excluder of illegality."

The judge rejected the complaint, however, based on the earlier decision of Minister Gilmar Mendes, of the STF, which prohibits Greenwald from being investigated for the dissemination of messages obtained by the journalists and published by The Intercept. In the decision, he writes that the rejection is "for now," that is, until the merit of the decision is evaluated by the Supreme Court, indicating that if the decision is revoked, Greenwald could be charged.

Also on Thursday, Feb. 6, the journalist received important support from the UN rapporteur on freedom of expression, David Kaye, and from the special rapporteur on freedom of expression of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, Edison Lanza. They demanded explanations about the charges against Greenwald and warned of the risk of using legal threats against the press, journalist Jamil Chad reported for UOL.



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