Working group spent a year collecting documents and hearing witnesses. Verdict published on Monday.
A Pernambuco court has ruled in favor of correcting the death certificate of student Odijas Carvalho, killed in 1971 at the age of 26 in the military police hospital of Recife. Instead of the pulmonary embolism cited originally, the cause of death is now “homicide resulting from multiple wounds arising from acts of torture.”
The judgment was published by judge Andrea Epaminondas Tenório on October 14 in the Official Diary of the state. Within 15 days, the document registry where the previous version resides will issue the updated document.
Besides the federal truth commission, several states have launched parallel investigations focusing on local and regional cases. The CNV describes the Pernambuco process as particularly successful.
According to the secretary-general of the commission, ex-president Henrique Mariano of the OAB-PE, this was the first rectification of a death certificate achieved by the Dom Helder Câmara Memorial State Truth Commission. The group spent a year collecting documents and press clippings and interviewing witnesses to the tortures suffered by the student, then petitioned the court in the name of Odijas’ widow, Maria Ivone Loureiro Ribeiro.
In handing down her ruling, the judge said her reasoning was based on a favorable opinion by the Public Ministry (MP) of Pernambuco and the data submitted by the state commission. Prosecutor Luciana Braga Costa of Recife, wrote in her indictment that “the agony of Odijas took place in a dungeon, but evidence of this fact are now plainly visible, by the light of day and after meticulous work by various institutions.”
A student leader and agronomy student at the Rural Universidade of Pernambuco, Odijas was a militant in the Brazilian Revolutionary Communist Party (PCBR) and was arrested on the beach at Maria Farinha, in the Paulista metro area, on January 30, 1971. The assassination was denounced by witness affidavits to officials of the Seventh Military Region in the late 1970s. Former political prisoner Mário Miranda testified to the torture carried out at the headquarters of DOPS-Recife, which led to the death of Odijas and two others — Carlos Alberto Vinicius and Lylia Guedes — who were arrested with the student. “Odijas was massacred,” says Nadia Brayner, one of the rapporteurs of the truth commission.
The body was buried at the Santo Amaro cemetery under the name “Osias” de Carvalho Souza, which made locating it difficult. His is one of 51 entries on a preliminary list of political murders and disappearances during the military dictatorship — targeted for analysis by the state truth commission.
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