• Categories
  • Archives

Judge in Brazil Bars Suit for Kidnap and Torture Against Dictatorship-Era Army Officer

Brazil's military dictatorship The first charges brought against an army officer over crimes committed during the Brazil’s 1964-1985 military dictatorship were dismissed by a Brazilian judge, dealing a blow to rights groups and victims’ families. 

Prosecutors brought charges in the last few days against Sebastião Rodrigues de Moura, best known as colonel Curió, 77, who commanded troops they say kidnapped and tortured five members of the Araguaia guerrilla movement in the Amazon, which was fighting to impose communism.

Human rights groups had applauded the charges as a “landmark step for accountability in Brazil,” which critics say has taken only timid steps to deal with that dark chapter in its history. The fate of the five and several hundred others has never been discovered.

Prosecutors argued the kidnapping of the five was not covered by a 1979 amnesty law because they were not found and the case never closed. The prosecution argument heeded a 2010 decision by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights that Brazil must investigate those kidnappings and punish the perpetrators.

In dismissing the charges, Federal Judge João Cesar Matos argued they were covered by the amnesty law.

“Pretending that you can skirt around the amnesty law to reopen the debate over military dictatorship-era crimes … disregards the historical circumstances which, in a great effort of national reconciliation, led to its implementation,” the judge said in a statement on the Federal Justice website of Para state.

The judge added that even if he accepted the case, the legal time limit for a sentence to be given had passed.

Federal prosecutors in Pará state said they would appeal the judge’s decision.

The accused colonel was a notorious figure from the dictatorship period that began after a military coup. He took over the running of the region in the Amazon where his troops were stationed and earned a fortune overseeing artisanal, or small, independent mining.

The judge’s decision came on the day Defense Minister Celso Amorim called for the powers of a recently established truth commission to be expanded to enable it to investigate all the wrongdoings of the era.

Brazil’s military dictatorship was less murderous than those in Argentina and Chile, but the country’s leadership has been criticized for not doing more to investigate the violent acts committed and mete out punishment to those responsible.

About 475 people are estimated to have been killed or have disappeared during the dictatorship.

The issue is also a delicate one for Dilma Rousseff, Brazil’s first woman president, who was herself a left-wing combatant during the dictatorship, subjected to torture at the hands of the military and imprisoned.

Rousseff has been careful to avoid creating the perception she is out to avenge the wrongs she suffered.

There is strong resistance against repealing the law among the military, many of whose dictatorship-era officers have yet to retire and argue the military saved Brazil from a communist revolution.

Mercopress

Tags:

  • Show Comments (1)

  • asp

    good desician by the judge and good dilma isnt pressing it….

    it is amnesty after all…..if they go after military they have to go after kidnappers and bank robbers and assanins ( they did assinate a bunch of people, including an american officer)

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

comment *

  • name *

  • email *

  • website *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Ads

You May Also Like

Minister Sees 2006 as a Green Year for Brazil

Brazil’s Minister of Agriculture, Roberto Rodrigues, says that with changes in macroeconomic policy and ...

High Taxes and Interest Slow Brazil Industry Output

Industrial production in Brazil grew in the final quarter of 2004 (October-December), but at ...

Weak Dollar Won’t Harm the Bottom Line, Says Brazil

The minutes of the last meeting of the Brazilian Monetary Policy Committee (Copom) make ...

Despite NAFTA Losses Brazil Footwear Sector Grows

Brazil’s Minister of Development, Industry, and Foreign Trade, Luiz Fernando Furlan, affirmed that, despite ...

Brazil’s Industrial Park Committed to Ban Illegal Amazon Timber

The seven municipal administrations that comprise the Greater ABC region of metropolitan São Paulo ...

Brazil’s Coalition Party Warns President and Threatens to Become Opposition

Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff is “playing with fire” in the way it addresses relations ...

365 Cameras in Rio Carnaval Watching for Muggers, Drunks and Peeers

Rio’s Carnaval this year has Big Brother all over town watching what you do. ...

Rio Arrests Drug Lord of Rocinha, Its Biggest Favela, in Preparation for Olympics

Earlier today, Rio police arrested Antonio Francisco Bomfim Lopes, alias Nem, the drug lord ...

Brazil Is Teaching World How to Deal with Economic Crisis, Says Lula

Brazilian President, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva says that Brazil is overcoming the current ...

Drought Cuts Brazil’s Grain Crop in 10%

Brazil’s grain crop this year is expected to decline 10% compared with last year’s ...