EXTERNAL (for general distribution) AI Index: AMR 19/25/92
7 October 1992
UA 312/92 Torture/fear of "disappearance"/fear of physical safety
BRAZIL: Roberto Carlos DA COSTA, aged 18
Natalino José BATISTA, aged 16
Amnesty International is concerned about the physical safety of Roberto Carlos
Da Costa, aged 18, and Natalino José Batista, aged 16, who were last seen on
10 September 1992 at Vila Nova York, São Paulo city, Brazil.
According to information received by Amnesty International, at around 1am on
14 April 1992 Roberto Carlos Da Costa and a friend were detained by the military
police, under suspicion of robbery, on a street in the Eastern outskirts, Zona
Leste, of São Paulo city. While inside the police vehicle Roberto Carlos da
Costa was allegedly subjected to beatings and electric shocks to make him confess
where he had hidden some alleged stolen goods. The beatings lasted for several
hours then he was taken to Police District 70, 70 Delegacia Policial, where
he was allegedly subjected to further beatings and electric shocks.
The day after his release from police custody Roberto Carlos Da Costa denounced
the torture and beatings to the Public Prosecutor for Children and Adolescents
of São Paulo, Promotoria de Justiça da Infancia e Juventude da Cidade de São
Paulo and underwent a forensic medical examination. The torture and beatings
were also denounced to a São Paulo Municipal Parliamentary Commission of
Inquiry, Commissão Parlamentaria de Inquerito Municipal, on violence against
children and adolescents. A police inquiry into the incident was opened.
At the end of August 1992 Roberto Carlos da Costa told a human rights worker
that he had been shot at from an unidentified black car. On 10 September 1992
Roberto Carlos da Costa together with Natalino José Batista went missing and
have since not been seen. Their families have searched for them in hospitals,
police stations and relatives' homes with no success. Both families said that
it is highly unusual for them to leave their homes without notice.
The Centro de Defesa da Criança e do Adolescente Monica Paião Trevisan, a human
rights centre specializing in the defence of the rights of children and
adolescents, has taken up Roberto Carlos da Costa's case. The centre has been
broken into several times since July 1992, the last time was on 27 September
1992, and only documents and files related to the centre's work have been stolen,
suggesting that it could be an attempt at intimidation.