Media help prosecutors identify police officers accused of torture during Brazilian dictatorship

  • By
  • August 31, 2010

By Maira Magro

Victims and relatives of victims recognized through images published in newspapers and magazines and broadcast on television three officials from the Sao Paulo Civil Police accused of directly participating in acts of torture, sexual abuse, forced disappearances and murder during the military regime (1964-1985), according to the federal prosecutors office.

The prosecution is calling for the immediate expulsion and loss of jobs and pensions for police officers Aparecido Laertes Calandra, David dos Santos Araújo and Dirceu Gravina (the first two are retirees and the third is still active), in addition to reparations for moral damages and restitution for any compensation paid by the union, reported Terra. Read here testimonies collected by the prosecution.

Prosecutors said that besides the other crimes, Aparecido Laertes Calandra (going by the name Capt. Ubirajara) helped create the story that journalist Vladimir Herzog had committed suicide in jail. Herzog, journalism director for TV Cultura São Paulo, was found dead on Army grounds in Sao Paulo in October 1975. The Army's official statement said he had committed suicide, a version that now is refuted by social movements and resistance to the military regime. In 1978, in a symbolic gesture, a judge declared the police union guilty for the torture and death of Herzog. The case provoked indignation and protests against the Brazilian dictatorship.

Note from the editor: This story was originally published by the Knight Center’s blog Journalism in the Americas, the predecessor of LatAm Journalism Review.