Folha de S. Paulo: FAB is accused of jailing airman as retaliation
President of the federation of air traffic controllers, Carlos Trifílio was jailed for six days
Entity filed accusation at Supreme Court against Air Force Command for aviation accidents; motive of punishment is missing work, FAB affirms
From the Brasilia BureauFrom the Rio Bureau
The Brazilian Air Force is accused of having detained yesterday sergeant Carlos Trifílio, who is president of Febracta (Brazilian Federation of Air Traffic Controllers Associations), as a form of retaliation.A entidade ingressou no STF (Supremo Tribunal Federal), acusando o Comando da Aeronáutica de omissão de responsabilidade pelos acidentes com os aviões da TAM, em 2007, e da Gol, em 2006.For the federation, the arrest would also be a manner of pressuring the controllers to not engage in new protests.
The "hard line" was adopted by the Air Force Command last year, when there was a mutiny by the controllers that marked the period of chaos in the country's air traffic control system. The sector's problem were aggravated after two aviation accidents.
Officially, Trifílio was arrested for missing work to go to a doctor's appointment. The FAB confirmed that the sargent was detained for this reason and because it had happened before and denied retaliation. On absenting himself, he should have communicated the fact to his superiors. Trifílio will remain confined for six days at the São Paulo air base. The sergeant had already been jailed last week for five days for the same reason. Last year, Trifílio was detained for having granted interviews to the press on the controllers' movement. According to lawyer Roberto Sobral, the sergeant is ill and does not accept submitting himself to the treatment recommended by the Air Force. As he is not freed for appointments with other doctors, he winds up missing work.
The lawyer calculates that, at least, 74 military personnel have already been punished. But he hopes that the STF will recognize that omission by the Air Force commandant, brigadier Juniti Saito, and by his predecessor, brigadier Luiz Carlos Bueno, contributed to the scenario of lack of safety that resulted in the accident with the Gol plane in 2006. The Federal prosecutor, Antonio Fernando de Souza, has already recommended, however, that the action be sent to the files. According to the lawyer, since last year, the FAB has begun a process of remilitarizing aviation traffic and has obliged the controllers to march. The Air Force said that it will not comment on the matter.