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Brazil: Theft of sensitive documents from offices of human rights organisation Grupo Tortura Nunca Mais
As of 25 July 2012 no investigation has been opened by the Federal Police of Brazil into the recent theft of sensitive information from the offices of Grupo Tortura Nunca Mais do Rio de Janeiro - GTNM/RJ (Torture No More Group of Rio de Janeiro).
[Versão em português anexada abaixo]
On 19 July 2012, members of GTNM/RJ arrived at the organisation's office to find that it had been ransacked. The non-governmental organisation works to lobby for the opening of State archives for the period covering the military regime and on cases of human rights defenders and civil society members who have been criminalised as a result of their legitimate work fighting against impunity and denouncing torture and all forms of violence committed in Brazil.
On 19 July 2012, staff members arrived at the Grupo Tortura Nunca Mais offices and discovered that sensitive documentation, concerning psychological care given to the victims of police torture and human rights defenders had been stolen. Other files were found overturned and a computer that had been switched off was found to be on.
Over R$1,500.00 (approximately €600.00) in cash was stolen from the Group's Clinic Project which provides medical, psychological and legal assistance to victims of state violence. According to the police other valuable items in the office were not stolen. There was no evidence that any doors or windows had been forced open.
GTNM target of repeated threats
Previously, on 11 July 2012, at approximately 2:00pm a GTNM/RJ member received an anonymous telephone threat. An unidentified male voice stated: “estou ligando para dizer que nós vamos voltar e que isso aí vai acabar” (I'm calling to say that we'll come back and that it is all going to end). According to the organisation these are not the first threats and attacks they have received.
Working to challenge impunity
GTNM/RJ was founded in 1985 under the initiative of former political prisoners who experienced torture and the relatives of political activists who were assassinated or disappeared. It currently works for the full realisation of the National Truth Commission, for the opening of the archives from the military dictatorship, and compliance with the ruling issued by the Inter-American Court on Human Rights in the Araguaia Case which ordered Brazil to investigate and, if the allegations are found to be true, to punish crimes committed by the military during this period.
The National Truth Commission was established in May 2012 and will operate for two years to investigate human rights violations by state agents that occurred in Brazil between 1946 and 1988. However, due to the Amnesty Law of 1979, no government official accused of torture or other crimes may be brought to trial; a rule which has brought criticism from sections of civil society and relatives of victims of violations committed during the period.
Front Line Defenders believes that the attacks on GTNM/RJ are directly related to the organisation's work in defence of human rights, particularly in their struggle for memory, truth and justice for the period of military rule in Brazil, and is seriously concerned for the physical and psychological integrity of the organisation.