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UA 53/94 - Brazil: torture / medical concern: Manoel Delfino Felix da Silva, Pedro Vieira de Araujo, Manoel Divino Alves da Silva, Osvaldo Duarte da Silva, Valdemir Alves da Silva, Josemar Cantuario de Oliveira

, Index number: AMR 19/002/1994

There is concern at reports that the six peasants named above have been subjected to torture and ill-treatment. There is also concern that they are being denied adequate medical attention. The first five were arrested on 23 and 24 January and are currently held at Colinas do Tocantins police station. Josemar Cantuario de Oliveira was detained on 26 January in Conceicao do Araguaia, Para state, and is currently held at Guarai police station, Tocantins state. It is alleged that he was severely beaten and tortured there, and has been denied proper medical attention for a bullet wound to his leg. Manoel Delfino Felix da Silva was taken to hospital with pains in his head and body. The arrests relate to investigations into the killing of a local councillor in a conflict over land tenure.

EXTERNAL (for general distribution) AI Index: AMR 19/02/94
Distr: UA/SC
UA 53/94 Torture / Medical concern 15 February 1994
BRAZIL Manoel Delfino FELIX DA SILVA, aged 59
Pedro VIEIRA DE ARAUJO
Manoel Divino ALVES DA SILVA
Osvaldo DUARTE DA SILVA
Valdemir ALVES DA SILVA
Josemar CANTUARIO DE OLIVEIRA - all peasants, (lavradores)
Amnesty International is concerned by reports that the six people named above
have been subjected to torture and other forms of ill-treatment since their
arrests in late January 1994. It is also concerned that some of the detainees
are not receiving adequate medical attention.
According to the information received by Amnesty International the first five
listed above were detained on 23 and 24 January by military and civil police
officers from Couto Magalhaes, Tocantins state. Their detention was related
to investigations about the killing of a local councillor in a conflict over
land tenure. The five are currently in custody in Colinas do Tocantins police
station. Josemar Cantuario de Oliveira was detained on 26 January in Conceicão
do Araguaia, Pará state, by members of the civil police, on the same grounds.
He is being held in the Guarai police station, Tocantins state.
According to a witness who was briefly detained in the Couto Magalhaes police
station, Valdemir Alves da Silva was taken out of the police station around
10 pm on 23 January and brought back to his cell about two hours later with
severe bruising. The witness alleges that Valdemir Alves da Silva told him
that he had been taken to a nearby stream where his head was submerged in water
until near drowning. Valdemir Alves da Silva's wife was also told by her husband
about his torture and confirmed that he was badly bruised.
The same witness alleges that Osvaldo Duarte da Silva and Manoel Delfino Felix
da Silva were severely bruised and told him that they had been beaten by the
police. Manoel Delfino Felix da Silva was taken to hospital complaining of
strong pain in his head and body. A doctor reportedly diagnosed that his bruises
were consistent with heavy blows to his upper body. The detainees in Couto
Magalhaes police station also allege that they were beaten by the police while
being taken in custody from Couto Magalhaes to the police station at Colinas
do Tocantins.
Josemar Cantuario de Oliveira, accused by the police of the killing of the
local councillor was reportedly severely beaten and subjected to other forms
of torture at the GuaraI police station in Tocantins. He was also reportedly
denied proper medical attention for a bullet wound to his leg.
BACKGROUND INFORMATION
The region comprising the north of Tocantins and the south of Pará states,
in the North of Brazil, has one of the worst records of rural violence in the
whole of Brazil. While those responsible for the killings of peasants, rural
union leaders and their advisors are seldom brought to justice, the police
have often resorted to torture and other forms of ill-treatment to investigate
cases involving violence against landowners. In September 1993, during a police
operation to arrest peasants suspected of involvement in the murder of a
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landowner and a veterinarian in the south of Pará state, a peasant named Osório
Barbosa de Barros was reportedly detained as a "witness" and severely tortured
by the police in Xínguara police station, Pará state (see UA 342/93, AMR
19/31/93, 29 September 1993).
Recommended Action: Please send telegrams/telexes/faxes and airmail letters
either in Portuguese, English and your own language:
- expressing concern at the allegations that the six peasants named above have
been beaten and tortured by members of the civil and military police
investigating a crime in northern Tocantins;
- urging that proper medical attention be provided for all the detainees;
- requesting a full investigation into the allegations of torture and
ill-treatment and that all those found responsible be brought to justice;
- urging the authorities to remind all members of the police forces that the
Brazilian Constitution categorically prohibits torture or inhuman and degrading
treatment.
APPEALS TO:
1. Minister of Justice
Exmo Sr Ministro da Justiça
Sr Mauricio Corrêa
Ministério Da Justiça
Esplanada dos Ministerios, Bloco 23
70.064 Brasília DF, Brasil
Telegrams: Ministro Justiça, Brasilia, Brasil
Faxes: + 55 61 321 5145
Telexes: 611003 MNJU Br
Salutation: Vossa Excelência/Your Excellency/Su Excelencia
2. State Governor of Tocantins
Exmo Dr Moisés Avelino
Governador do Estado de Tocantins
Palácio Araguaia,
Avda Presidente Juscelino Kubischeck
77.000.000 Palmas, Tocantins, Brazil
Faxes: + 55 63 862.1201
Telegrams: Governador Tocantins, Palmas, Tocantins
Salutation: Vossa Excelência/Your Excellency
3. State Secretary for Public Security
Exmo Sr Secretário de Segurança Pública
Sr Desembargador Julio Resplande de Araújo
Palácio Araguaia
Avda Presidente Juscelino Kubischeck
77.000.000 Palmas, Tocantins, Brazil
Telegrams: Secretário de Segurança Pública, Palmas, Tocantins, Brazil
Salutation: Vossa Excelência/Your Excellency
COPIES OF YOUR APPEALS TO:
Pastoral Land Commission Araguaia- Tocantins
Comissão Pastoral da Terra Araguia-Tocantins
Rua 07 de Setembro 800,
77600-000 Paraiso do Tocantins, Tocantins, Brazil
Faxes: + 55 63 861 11 10
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and to diplomatic representatives of Brazil accredited to your country.
PLEASE SEND APPEALS IMMEDIATELY. Check with the International Secretariat,
or your section office, if sending appeals after 29 March 1994.

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