STF orders the State to indemnify photographer who lost eyesight covering protest

Alex Silveira was hit by a rubber bullet fired by the Military Police in 2000 and lost 85% of his vision in his left eye

Leandro Ciuffo Wikimedia CommonsFollowing the rapporteur’s vote, Minister Carmen Lúcia stated that blaming the victim is almost bizarre

O Supreme Federal Court decided on Thursday, by 10 votes to 1, that the State should be held responsible for the eye injury suffered by the photographer Alex Silveira, hit by a rubber bullet fired by the Military police in 2000 while covering a protest in São Paulo. Alex lost 85% of the vision in his left eye and will now be compensated by São Paulo. The rapporteur of the process, minister Marco Aurélio Mello, took a stand against the sentence of the São Paulo Court of Justice, which in 2014 found Alex guilty, and changed the previous sentence — which condemned the State to pay compensation of 100 minimum wages. By following the rapporteur’s vote, the minister Carmen Lucia stated that there is no way to blame the victim is almost bizarre.

“It is almost bizarre when it is said that the journalist would not have dodged the bullet. Imagine if, at every moment of what we are seeing so bitterly in Brazil, of people killed by bullets called lost, who find their lives, if we had to take this type of observation into account.” Eight other ministers voted in favor of indemnifying the journalist. The only one to vote against was Nunes Marques. “Journalists who take extreme risks, contrary to all safety regulations, would later be compensated for any damage they suffered. The society would pay for the serious risk taken voluntarily by him.” The appeal has general repercussions, that is, the decision must be followed in similar cases. One of them is the photographer Sergio Silva, who lost an eye covering a protest in 2013 and can see his case take a turnaround. The journalist sued the State of São Paulo and lost in the first two instances.

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*With information from reporter Caterina Achutti

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