A. The petitioners’ position 14. It is adduced that the body of Marcia Barbosa de Souza was found in a vacant lot on the outskirts of the city of Joao Pessoa, capital of the state of Paraíba, on June 18, 1998. To investigate the homicide, the Civilian Police of the State of Paraíba opened investigation No. 98.004184.0. Once the victim was identified, it was discovered that she was 20 years old, was a student, was unemployed, and was from the city of Cajazeiras, state of Paraíba, the daughter of Severino Reinaldo de Souza and Marineide Barbosa de Souza, both residents of Cajazeiras. 15. According to the petitioners, the investigation reconstructed the victims’ last movements in Joao Pessoa, and it was found that she was lodging at an inn by the name of “Canta Maré,” where she received several telephone calls from the above-referenced person, who was a state legislator at the time; that information was verified by the operators of that locale, whose statements given in the investigation are attached. According to the investigation, they state that on June 17, 1998, after receiving a final phone call from the legislator in question, the alleged victim left the inn to meet him. Hours later, still in the company of the legislator, she made a phone call from his cell phone to her city, Cajazeiras, where she spoke with a friend by the name of Marcia, and with her family. The friend said that the alleged victim was in a motel with the legislator, and that she, the declarant, spoke with him. The mother said that her daughter sounded happy, for she had gotten a job, and intended to stay in Joao Pessoa. It is noted that this was the alleged victim’s last contact with family and friends.2 16. The petitioners argue that on the morning of June 18, 1998, a passerby saw the vehicle used at the time by the then-legislator throw “something” (“algo”) in a vacant lot and went to see what it was, and came across the alleged victim’s corpse. Once the police were advised, the corresponding investigations were opened; the expert autopsy report found that the death of the individual in question had as its cause asphyxia provoked by suffocation. 3 This investigation, under the direction of police delegate Adesaldo Ferreira, concluded with a report that pointed to the then-state legislator as the student’s murderer. It appears in the final report of the investigation that the legislator had been seen in the company of the alleged victim the night before the crime, and there is other evidence that confirmed his presence in her company, during the last hours she was alive; having left with him, she never returned. 4 17. In the petitioners’ words, the police of Paraíba forwarded the file to the Public Ministry of the state.5 As a privilege inherent to his position, the then-legislator enjoyed legislative immunity, which is why the file went to the Chief of the Public Ministry for the state of Paraíba, who proceeded to pursue the case, lodging a criminal complaint; the complaint includes a caveat that the criminal action could only be brought with the permission of the Legislative Assembly, for the legislator to be prosecuted. The investigation concluded on August 27, 1998. On October 8, 1998, the Attorney General filed a complaint before the Court of Appeals of the state of Paraíba against the state legislator for the murder of the alleged victim, asking that the necessary authorization be requested of the Legislative Assembly of the state of Paraíba, since the accused was a member of that body at the time. 6 On October 9, 1998, the judge hearing the matter ordered it be forwarded to the office of “Judicial Coordination” so that the Legislative Assembly be notified of the request to lift his immunity; 2 3 4 5 6 Final Report of the Bureau of Crimes against the Person. Annex 1 of the petition. Indictment handed down by the Public Ministry against the former legislator. Annex 2 of the petition. Final report of the Bureau of Crimes against the Person. Annex 1 of the petition. Id. Indictment handed down by the Public Ministry against the former legislator. Annex 2 of the petition.