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News > Brazil

LGBT Congressman Jean Wyllys Forced to Step Down, Flees Brazil

  • Congressman-elect Jean Wyllys waves during the inauguration ceremony for deputies at Brazil's National Congress in Brasilia.

    Congressman-elect Jean Wyllys waves during the inauguration ceremony for deputies at Brazil's National Congress in Brasilia. | Photo: Reuters

Published 24 January 2019

"This environment is not safe for me," stated Wyllys.

Three times elected Federal congressman for the Brazilian state of Rio de Janeiro, Jean Wyllys, has been forced to abandon public life due to death threats.

Bolsonaro's Son Linked to Suspect of Marielle Franco's Murder

"I am terrified to learn that the president's son hired the wife and mother of the sicario in his office. The president who has always slandered me, who has always insulted me openly, who has always used homophobia against me. This environment is not safe for me," stated Wyllys.

In an interview with the Brazilian newspaper Folha de Sao Paulo, the lawmaker from the Socialism and Liberty Party (PSOL) revealed that he will not come back to Brazil from vacations, that he will leave public life and that he is planning to dedicate to the academy.

Wyllys was a friend and is a militant of the same party that Marielle Franco, the Rio de Janeiro's councilwoman who was assassinated in March 2018. Since that time, when she was killed, Wyllys is living under policial protection. He has received several death threats which have increased since Franco was killed which forced Wyllys to leave public life.

"Pepe Mujica (former Uruguayan president), when he learned that I was being threatened to death, told me: 'Kid, take care of yourself. Martyrs are not heroes.' And that's it: I don't want to sacrifice myself," justified himself Willys.

According to the lawmaker, this decision also comes after the new information that revealed that the son of Brazil’s president and federal senator, Flavio Bolsonaro, has been linked to the mother and wife of Captain Adriano Magalhaes da Nobrega, accused by national prosecutors of participating in the murder of counselor Marielle Franco and her driver Anderson Gomes.

Wyllys is the first congressman openly gay and to defender the GLBT agenda in the Brazilian National Congress, which made him one of the most common targets for conservatives in the country. Now Wyllys will be replaced by David Miranda, another GLBT defender and an openly gay councilman for Rio de Janeiro, also a friend of Marielle Franco.

In a text signed by the Paulo Pimenta leader from the Workers Party (PT) legislative group in the Lower Chamber, released on Thursday, a note of solidarity with Representative Jean Wyllys was issued. In the statement the left-wing party demands that the police investigate the threats against Wyllys.

The PT lawmakers stated that these threats against Wyllys, "express coercion not only to the parliamentarian of the PSOl, but to all human rights defenders, holders of popular mandates or not (...) We will continue in the struggles in defense of democracy and human rights of the Brazilian people."

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