BRASILIA (Reuters) – Brazilian far-right President Jair Bolsonaro mentioned on Thursday that an Military officer who was convicted of torture in the course of the nation’s 1964-1985 army dictatorship was a “nationwide hero.”
FILE PHOTO: Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro speaks throughout a overview and modernization ceremony of occupational well being and security work on the Planalto Palace in Brasilia, Brazil July 30, 2019. REUTERS/Adriano Machado
Colonel Carlos Alberto Ustra, who died in 2015, headed the Military’s infamous DOI-CODI intelligence unit that was liable for repressing leftist political opponents. Throughout his 2008 trial, witnesses mentioned he personally oversaw torture classes.
Brazil’s Nationwide Fact Commision recorded 45 deaths or disappearances throughout Ustra’s 4 years operating the unit, in addition to 502 instances of torture.
“He’s a nationwide hero who prevented Brazil falling into what the left needs at the moment,” Bolsonaro advised reporters earlier than assembly with Ustra’s widow.
A former Military captain who got here of age underneath the dictatorship, Bolsonaro has defended the legacy of the army authorities and has included a number of retired generals in his cupboard since taking workplace in January.
In 2016, he eulogized Ustra as he forged his vote to question former leftist President Dilma Rousseff, who was jailed and tortured in the course of the dictatorship.
Rousseff mentioned Bolsonaro’s feedback have been unacceptable coming from the top of a state that’s occasion to worldwide agreements condemning torture as a criminal offense towards humanity.
“It’s severe president extols a infamous torturer and defends torture as a state coverage,” she mentioned in an announcement.
Final week, Bolsonaro changed 4 of the seven members of a fee liable for investigating disappeared victims of the dictatorship’s “soiled warfare” towards left-wing militants. Of their place he appointed army officers and members of right-wing events.
Requested why, he replied to reporters: “There’s a new president; now it’s Jair Bolsonaro. Full cease.”
Reporting by Anthony Boadle; Enhancing by Dan Grebler and Leslie Adler