Colonel Ustra Charged in New Case for Hiding a Torture Victim’s Body in 1972

On April 29th, the Federal Public Minister in São Paulo presented charges against retired Colonel Carlos Alberto Brilhante Ustra for hiding the body of a 27-year-old medical school student, Hiohaki Torigoe, who had allegedly been imprisoned and tortured in the Doi-Codi facility in São Paulo in 1972. Based on testimonies given by two former prisoners of Doi-Codi, André Tsutomu Ota and Francisco Carlos de Andrade, during the time of Torigoe’s arrest, Torigoe was brought to Doi-Codi injured but alive and was interrogated and tortured before his death. This contradicts the official story offered by the authorities two weeks after Torigoe’s death, which stated that he died in a gunfight in Higienópolis in eastern São Paulo (capital).

According to the Federal Public Minister, Torigoe had been a member of the Ação Libertadora Nacional (ALN) and the Movimento de Libertação Popular (Molipo), two organizations that employed armed resistance against the military dictatorship. Since 2006, there has been public outcry over the unknown whereabouts of Torigoe’s body.

The Public Minister is accusing Colonel Ustra of secretly burying Torigoe’s body, falsifying documents with the intention of impeding the search for the body, ordering subordinates to deny information to the victim’s family, and hiding the truth behind Torigoe’s death. Alcides Singillo, a retired delegate of the Deops-SP (the Department of Political and Social Order of São Paulo), is being charged for hiding the information, as well.

In 2012, Colonel Ustra was tried and recognized in courts for crimes of torture and kidnapping but, because of the 1979 Amnesty Law that is still honored to this day, it is impossible to take punitive action against military officials who committed human rights violations during the military dictatorship. In another case federal judges have rejected trials or delayed trials under the pretense that the 1979 Amnesty Law does not allow for conviction.

For more information, click here.

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