Public outrage as Brazilian club signs goalkeeper convicted of killing his girlfriend20 March 2017

Brazilianclub Boa Esporteisfacingabacklashaftergivingtwo-year contracttoBrunoFernandesdeSouza,whowas convictedofmurderinghisgirlfriendandhavingherbodyfedtohisdogs,as theirnewgoalkeeper.

Bruno, who previously played for Flamengo and Atlético, was released last month serving less than a third of the 22-year sentence handed down by a lower court for ordering the 2010 killing of his former partner and mother of his child.

The announcement drew anger from the family of the victim, Eliza Samudio, and women’s rights groups.

“Women are outraged and so are the general public. It is as if he had gone unpunished,” wrote Djamila Ribeiro, a political philosopher and feminist activist, on the UOL website.

On 14 March, women’s rights group Frente Feminista de Virginia organised a protest outside the club’s ground and highlighted in a statement: “This signing is looking to give visibility to the club because of the player’s life and career in clubs like Flamengo. We refuse to accept the idea that the lives of women can be disregarded in exchange for money.”

Days after the announcement, the club’s website was hacked and its homepage replaced by a message reading: “This action is aimed at repudiating Boa Esporte and all their sponsors for directly supporting femicide!!!”.

“In Brazil, the number of femicides is 4,8 in 100,000 women, it is the world’s fifth highest rate. In 2015, a map on gender-based violence revealed that between 2003 and 2013 the number of femicides against black women increased 54%, from 1,864 to 2,875. In 2013, it was found that 33,2% of the femicides were perpetrated by men who were or are in an intimate, familiar, conjugal or similar relationship with the woman,” it continued.

Four sponsors have since withdrawn their support from the team in protest against the decision and the city council of Varginha is currently assessing if they will continue to support the club.

On Facebook, Rone Moraes da Costa, owner of the club, wrote: “In Brazil we do not condemn people to death or to prison forever,

“Therefore, when a prisoner is released, they can find means of forming part of society; working and gaining dignity through work.”

The announcement came a week on the celebration of the International Women’s Day, increasing concerns about femicide and rape in Brazil.

In its latest country report, Amnesty International noted that lethal violence against women had increased by 24% over the previous decade and confirmed that Brazil was one of the worst Latin American countries in which to be a girl or woman. One in three women had suffered physical, verbal or psychological violence over the past year, according to a survey released last week by Datafolha.