OAS opens inquiry into impunity in case of journalist killed during Brazil's military dictatorship

The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) of the Organization of American States (OAS), opened an official inquiry into Brazil's failure to investigate the circumstances of the death of journalist Vladimir Herzog during the period of the military dictatorship, reported the news site G1.

The complaint alleges that the Brazilian state has not fulfilled its duty to investigate, prosecute, and punish those responsible for the death of Herzog, according to the newspaper Folha de São Paulo. The foreign ministry received notification from the OAS on Tuesday, March 27, and is preparing a response.

Witnesses said the journalist was tortured to death on army premises by Brazilian military intelligence agents in São Paulo on Oct. 25, 1975. After five months, the military closed the investigationand no one was punished. Instead, the military declared that Herzog had committed suicide.

Brazil will have two months to defend itself in the investigation. If the country presents insufficient arguments, the IACHR can take the investigation to the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, where the country could face a conviction, according to Agência Estado.

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.