EXTERNAL (for general distribution) AI Index: AMR 19/31/93
UA 342/93 Torture/Fear of "disappearance" 29 September 1993
BRAZIL 'Osório' rural worker
Amnesty International is concerned for the welfare of a rural worker known
only as Osório, who has "disappeared" after being taken into police custody
and tortured. He is believed to have been detained on 7 September 1993 during
a police operation to arrest peasants suspected of involvement in the murder
of a landowner and a veterinarian in the south of Pará state.
Osório, who worked on an estate neighbouring the one in which the veterinarian
was murdered, is believed to have been taken to the police station of Xínguara.
Other detainees at the police station say that they shared a cell with him
and that he was in very poor physical condition as a result of beatings. They
say that on a number of occasions Osório was taken out of the police station
for several hours by members of the civil police, and that on his return he
told them that he had been taken to the neighbouring town of Rio Maria in order
to identify possible suspects in the crimes being investigated. Osório also
told them that during these trips he was beaten, given electric shocks to the
head, subjected to mock drowning in a stream, and to mock hanging - whereby
a rope was put round his neck and raised until he fainted. A lawyer seeking
information about his whereabouts has found no official record of his detention
in the police station log book, or judicial order for his arrest. He was
reportedly told by the police chief at Xínguara that the detainees in this
case were under the responsibility of the Political and Social Order Police,
Departamento de Ordem Politico e Social, (DOPs).
The wife of one of the detainees alleges that when visiting her husband at
the Xínguara police station on 12 September she and other witnesses saw Osório
being taken away at midday in a car by members of DOPs, who said they were
taking him to the state capital Belém. However human rights groups have failed
to locate Osório in police stations or prisons in Belém.
During September 1993 civil and military police and members of the DOPs mounted
an operation to detain suspects in connection with the killing on 30 August
of Antônio Carlos Stivalle a veterinarian on the Parreira do Pará estate, and
on 2 September of Fábio Abreu Vieira owner of the Mata Azul estate. The Mata
Azul estate is in a region where there are intense land disputes between peasant
and landowners. As a consequence there have been frequent episodes of violence
in the past, and there is a permanent police presence in the region. In February
1993 two peasants Antonio Inácio Faria and Luis Rodrigues dos Santos, from
the Mata Azul estate "disappeared" in circumstances suggesting police
involvement (see UA 62/93, AMR 19/06/93); they are still missing.
Many of the detentions in September are believed to have been irregular.
Pereira da Rocha, a former director of the rural workers trade union of Rio