Retired Sergeant Will Be Tried for Military Dictatorship Crimes

Victim was the only survivor of a secret torture center in Rio de Janeiro; Judges decided that the case will not receive amnesty

Mônica Bergamo
São Paulo

A regional court overturned an amnesty judgment against retired sergeant Antonio Waneir Pinheiro de Lima, who is accused of kidnapping and raping a woman during the military dictatorship.

Inês Etienne Romeu accused the sergeant before she died in 2015. In the 1970s, she was arrested and taken to the House of Death, the property in Petrópolis, Rio, that functioned as a clandestine torture center in the military dictatorship.

This is the first time a criminal rape case has been opened against the military for crimes committed during the military period.

Inês Etienne Romeu. Foto Marcos Tristão - Agência O Globo

Etienne was the only survivor of those who passed through the House of Death. In her reports, she accused the retired sergeant of the crimes.

He has always denied the claims and said that the house was just a local house and that he only had contact with Etienne.

She died in 2015. Two years later, the 1st Criminal Court of Petrópolis filed the complaint. The judge found no evidence against the military, said the crime was prescribed - and invoked the Amnesty Law.

By two votes to one, the judges reversed the decision and made the retired sergeant a defendant.

According to the magistrates, Brazil has already been convicted twice in the Inter-American Court of Human Rights for not investigating the crimes of the dictatorship.

As the country is a signatory to international agreements requiring the accused to be investigated and not to go unpunished, they decided that the complaint should be accepted.

The military can appeal to the STJ (Superior Court of Justice) requesting the lock of action.

Translated by Kiratiana Freelon

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