Brazilian Minister for Justice suggests diplomatic intervention to defend Vinicius Junior from racism

Brazil and the Brazilian powers that be have reacted strongly to the racist abuse that Vinicius Junior has been suffering over recent months, with the abuse that he received last Sunday representing a tipping point in the matter. Minister for Justice Flavio Dino has suggested that the country may even explore diplomatic avenues in order to defend Vinicius.

This will be the tenth occasion in which Vinicius has suffered racial abuse and it has been officially reported to the authorities this season, and on Sunday, he was sent off after reacting to Hugo Duro’s headlock.

So far on several occasions fans have received €4k fines and been banned from sporting facilities for a year, but given the frequency of the incidents, clearly this is not enough of a deterrant to prevent it from happening.

Vinicius came out on social media on Sunday night and again on Monday condemning the abuse he was receiving, calling it inhuman, and the lack of action. Brazilian President Lula da Silva, amongst others, has condemned the events, as part of a wider Brazilian fury on the issue.

Dino suggested that Brazil may look to apply the legal concept of ‘extraterritoriality’ in order to defend a Brazilian national overseas.

“The principle of extraterritoriality is in the Penal Code, deriving from the request of the Minister of Justice. [An] Extreme remedy in case of crime against Brazilians, which can be useful in case of inaction by the initially competent authorities. It can function in response to unjust aggression against a fellow countryman.”

“The issue of extraterritoriality is still under analysis and depends on a series of factors. I just remind you that it is in the CRIMINAL CODE, as some are questioning the mention I made of it as an extreme remedy. I think it is useful for everyone to know about the existence of this protection for the rights of Brazilians. By the way, the principle also exists in Spain and other countries.”

Dino’s statements highlight the idea that the authorities must initially be incompetent, and so Spain’s justice system will have the chance to carry out punishment first. On Monday legal proceedings were opened.

That said precedent does not suggest that the culprits will face life-changing consequences for their actions. Given this comes right in the aftermath of the incidents, it will remain to be seen whether Brazil will be willing to put a strain on diplomatic relations with Spain in order to intervene, but it does speak to how seriously it is being taken in Brazil.

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