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Accused of Torture During Brazilian Military Dictatorship, Colonel Ustra Dies at 83

10/16/2015 - 10h42



The retired army colonel Carlos Alberto Brilhante Ustra, 83, had a blind belief that he would never be punished for the crimes he was accused of having committed during the dictatorship (1964-85). He once predicted that he would die without being tried or convicted.

On Thursday (15), with his death in Brasília as a result of multiple organ failure due to pneumonia, his prophecy was fulfilled.

Accused of crimes such as torture, assassinations, and forced disappearances by relatives of those who died during the dictatorship, former political prisoners, and Federal prosecutors, the head of one of the most violent bodies of the repression only suffered a single setback in the past ten years, when his actions began to be presented before the court.

Ustra was the only military man recognized by the court, in a declaratory action until now unedited, as a torturer. The result, which he tried to reverse, caused him great displeasure.

With the other eight charges placed against him, Ustra managed to escape any conviction thanks to the Amnesty Law.

Ustra assumed the DOI (Information Operations Unit) of the second army in São Paulo, in 1970. It was the height of combat for the organizations of the armed left. Until the end of 1974, when he would leave the post, the DOI saw close to 2 thousand prisoners.

According to the book "Brasil: Nunca Mais", 502 people were tortured on site during this period. The Truth Commission counted at least 45 deaths and disappearances as a result of subordination to Ustra.

Even in the 1980s, he began with the help of his wife, Joseíta, to recount his version of the dictatorship –firstly to show his daughters, publishing two books afterwards.

Ustra's body will be cremated this Friday (16). Averse to any kind of publicity, he did not want a grave.

Translated by SUGHEY RAMIREZ

Read the article in the original language

Sérgio Lima/Folhapress
The retired army colonel, Carlos Alberto Brilhante Ustra
The retired army colonel, Carlos Alberto Brilhante Ustra

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