Congressman Tim Ryan and Congressman Bill Johnson Introduce "End Immunity for Brazilian Criminals Act" and the "Karl Hoerig Foreign Aid Suspension Act"
Bipartisan bills will suspend foreign aid and issuance of visas to Brazilian nationals until Brazil extradites the killer of U.S. Air Force Major Karl Hoerig.
(Washington, D.C.) Congressman Tim Ryan (OH-13) and Congressman Bill Johnson (OH-6) introduced two bills in the House of Representatives last week to persuade Brazil to return Claudia Hoerig to the United States for trial in the murder of her husband, U.S. Air Force Major Karl Hoerig ("HARE-ig"). Brazil refuses to extradite its nationals, even when they are accused of a heinous crime like murder. The "End Immunity for Brazilian Criminals Act" would end the issuance of visas to Brazilian nationals since the U.S. has no recourse to extradite those who would flee back to Brazil after committing crimes. The second bill, the "Karl Hoerig Foreign Aid Suspension Act" would end the approximately $14 million in foreign aid to Brazil.
Although Claudia revoked her Brazilian citizenship to become a U.S. citizen 14 years ago, Brazil has still failed to live up to their international obligations to allow Claudia to be brought to justice. The Brazilian constitution explicitly prohibits the extradition of its citizens, undermining the respect for the rule of law that most countries share. While the United States' policy is to extradite to Brazil persons facing charges in that country, Brazil's policy is to refrain from extradition of its nationals. As result, Claudia lives free and openly in Brazil, unconcerned with being extradited.
Major Hoerig was a decorated combat pilot, with nearly 200 combat missions in Iraq and Afghanistan. In March, 2007, his wife Claudia purchased a Smith & Wesson .357 revolver, and spent an hour practicing at a shooting range. Three days later, police found Major Hoerig's body in the couple's home in Newton Falls, OH. An autopsy revealed that he was shot in the back of the head while tying his shoes. During those three days, Claudia Hoerig had used Karl's status as a commercial airline pilot to flee the United States for Brazil, where she remains to this day.
"I am committed to getting justice for Karl Hoerig and his family--who have now waited almost six years. I continue to talk to the State Department--and I will not let up," said Congressman Ryan. "If Brazil is going to continue to receive assistance from this country--and continue to have unrestricted travel to the United States, then they need to send Claudia Hoerig back here for trial. We're going to continue this fight and they will not be able to "run the clock out' on us."
"This legislation is an important step toward seeing justice served in the murder of Major Karl Hoerig, whose wife fled to Brazil after brutally murdering him with a shot to the back of the head. Right now, Brazil is harboring this known murderer, and is refusing to extradite her to the United States," said Rep. Bill Johnson. "There is no reason why Brazil should continue receiving American foreign aid dollars if it refuses to show basic respect to a friend and ally. Since Brazil has chosen not to extradite Major Hoerig's wife to the United States to stand trial, this legislation would stop foreign aid to Brazil until the Brazilian government has a change of heart. Major Karl Hoerig was not only a loving father, brother, and son but he bravely served America as a decorated combat pilot in Iraq and Afghanistan and bringing justice to his killer is the least we can do to honor his life."