Brazil Has 1049 Skeletons to ID of Political Prisoners and Death Squad Victims

Perus Cemetery in São Paulo, Brazil Brazil’s Human Rights minister Ideli Salvatti announced that the experts hired by the Secretary of Human Rights have initiated the process of identification of the 1,049 skeletons found in a clandestine trench at the Cemitério de Perus, a graveyard in São Paulo, in 1990.

“Since we don’t have a full database with the DNA of family members, they will start the collection of the materials today,” Ideli explained, last week.

According to the minister, the removal of the bones is expected to begin in September or October, after which they are to be taken to a laboratory set up in a house especially rented for this purpose, but the identification of the human remains should continue into the following year.

The project is supported by the Ministry of Education and Culture, and has the collaboration of the Federal University of São Paulo. Salvatti reported that both institutions have launched a project for the creation of an information center for forensic anthropology.

“It’s an extremely delicate job, that of comparing DNA. […] For the families involved, it is a decisive matter,” said Paulo Sérgio Pinheiro, one of the members of the National Truth Commission.

Among the found skeletons it’s believed that there are indigents, victim’s of the police death squads and political prisoners. Six political prisoners should be buried in this ditch,

According to the records of the cemetery at least six political prisoners killed by the military dictatorship are buried here. They are Dênis Antônio Casemiro, Dimas Casemiro, Flávio Carvalho Molina, Francisco José de Oliveira, Frederico Eduardo Mayr and Grenaldo de Jesus da Silva.

The Perus cemetery was built by the city of São Paulo, in 1971, when Paulo Maluf was the mayor. The original project called for a crematorium, but this was abandoned in 1976.

US and Other Countries

United States authorities have already shared 43 documents with Brazil’s National Truth Commission (CNV) relative to the military dictatorship in Brazil.

In a visit to the US Embassy in Brasília, members of the Commission were told the US will continue declassifying and sharing documents previously labeled as confidential.

“We are told by the ambassador that President Barack Obama has expressed interest in proceeding with the operation, so the US should continue declassifying documents and sending them to us. We’ll probably receive more documents in the second half of the year,” said CNV coordinator Pedro Dallari.

The expectation is that the cooperation will extend beyond the end of the Commission operation in December. “This is a legacy of the commission,” Dallari said.

Other countries have also cooperated with the CNV in providing information about Brazil’s dictatorship years. This week, the Buenos Aires Provincial Commission for Memory (CPM) provided the CNV with a report on victims of state terrorism.

The document contains information about the disappearance of 11 Brazilians in Argentina, as well as information on six jailed and missing Argentinians in Brazil. The CNV has also received details about monitoring on former Brazil president João Goulart when he was in Argentina.

Besides Argentina and the US, Germany, the Czech Republic, Italy, France and the Holy See, as well as international organizations including the UN and the Inter-American Court of Human Rights have already contributed documents on human rights violations in the context of Brazil’s dictatorship.

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