The Other Torture Report: Brazil Commission Details Past Human Rights Abuses

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Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, left, receives a report from Pedro Dallari, a member of the "truth commission," in Brasilia December 10, 2014. Rousseff appointed the commission in 2012 to shed new light on the crimes of Brazil's military dictatorship from 1964 to 1985. Joedson Alves/Reuters

Brazil's National Truth Commission says systematic torture, disappearances and killings were committed under the country's 20-year military rule, detailing its findings in a report delivered to President Dilma Rousseff on Wednesday.

The report was delivered one day after a U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee published its own 6,700-page document on the use of enhanced interrogation techniques by the Central Intelligence Agency between 2002 and 2006, in the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. Committee leader Dianne Feinstein said that some of the techniques amounted to torture. President Barack Obama banned the use of these tactics in 2009 shortly after taking office.

The United Nations envoy on counterterrorism and human rights on Tuesday called for CIA interrogators and officials in the administration of President George W. Bush who planned and authorized "acts of torture" to be prosecuted for violating international human rights law.

Brazil's almost 2,000-page report looks at human rights violations that took place between 1946 to 1988, with a particular focus on the military dictatorship of 1964 to 1985, during which it says 434 people were killed or disappeared. Abuses include unlawful imprisonment, sexual violence, rape, the introduction of insects into victims bodies, executions and the concealment of corpses, according to the report, which took more than two-and-a-half years to compile.

The commission believes thousands were tortured, but without access to the relevant security documents, there's no way to know the exact number.

Rousseff, a former guerrilla who was arrested and tortured in the early 1970s, broke down in tears during a presentation of the report on Wednesday.

"Brazil deserves the truth. The new generations deserve the truth. And most of all, those who deserve the truth are those who lost family members, friends, companions and continue to suffer as if they died again each and every day," said Rousseff.

The report also charges that the U.S. and U.K. helped train Brazil's military in torture and interrogation techniques. More than 300 Brazilian military personnel spent time at the School of the Americas near Columbus, Georgia, where they had "theoretical and practical lessons on torture, which would later be replicated in Brazil," Brazil's O Globo newspaper reports.

"When practiced massively and systematically against a population, these violations become a crime against humanity," according to a statement from the National Truth Commission press office.

The commission looked through morgue and hospital records and spoke with survivors, victims' families and perpetrators for their research. They also visited Blue House (Casa Azul), an Army-run "clandestine torture center" in Marabá, in the northern state of Pará.

The report is divided into three volumes that cover the specific human rights abuses, the commission's methods in gathering the truth and the names of 377 people the report says were involved in violations, close to 200 of whom are still alive.

The commission they've avoided being analytical in their reporting "as we are convinced that the presentation of objective, factual reality, in its absolute rawness, is sufficiently effective an instrument for the realization of the right to memory and historical truth," the statement says.

A 1979 amnesty law protects military personnel and left-wing guerillas involved in the crimes from prosecution. Members of the commission and activists alike have called for the law to be changed and for perpetrators to face criminal prosecution.

The Other Torture Report: Brazil Commission Details Past Human Rights Abuses | World