Uruguay Reopens Human Rights Cases Involving Brazilian Political Police

Nicolás Celaya reports that a Uruguayan judge has reopened the case of two kidnappings carried out in a joint operation involving the political police (DEOPS) of the Brazilian state of Rio Grande do Sul (RS) and the Uruguayan army. Uruguayan citizens Universindo Rodríguez Días and Lílian Celiberti were detained and tortured at a DEOPS facility in 1978; the couple was later transferred to an army barracks in their home country. The kidnapping was made possible by Operation Condor, a program through which the Southern Cone military dictatorship shared intelligence and resources in persecuting political activists. The date of the kidnapping is significant: it occurred as Brazil’s military government was in the midst of a controlled liberalization process.

Brazil retains its 1979 Amnesty Law, which prevents the criminal investigation and prosecution of the case there. Uruguay, however, overturned its own amnesty last July. Celaya writes that “Uruguay will be able to do what Brazil couldn’t or doesn’t want to in the face of the immoral shielding that grants a self-amnesty to torturers and the Brazilian mechanism of repression.”

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