Note from BW of Brazil: The following story is an update of a piece that appeared here back in 2013 about a Rio-based bricklayer named Amarildo Dias de Souza. Amarildo went missing for several days and it was suspected that Rio’s brutal Military Police had something to do with his disappearance. The catchphrase “Onde está o Amarildo?”, meaning, “Where is Amarildo?”, caught on across Brazil and even caught on in other countries around the world and the family grew increasingly desperate to know what happened to the husband and father. Amarildo’s wife did countless interviews about the case and participated in numerous marches. Eventually, the courts reached a decision on what apparently happened to the bricklayer, confirming the family’s worst nightmare. While all of the police in the case weren’t condemned, nearly half were. In a country in which cops often commit heinous crimes without any sort of punishment, I would consider this a victory for the family. The only thing I would advise the family would be to seek financial advice on how to deal with the compensation money. After all, coming from a situation of poverty and then suddenly coming into a large sum of money often times leads to disaster as poor people simply don’t have a background in dealing with money. All the best to the family of Amarildo!
Rio court grants compensation to Amarildo’s family, who disappeared since 2013
With the decision, in addition to the R$500 thousand for the wife and for each of the 6 children, judges kept the R$100 thousand for the brothers of the bricklayer
By Juliana Valente
The Justice of Rio de Janeiro maintained, on Tuesday (August 28), the compensation of R $ 500 thousand granted to the family of bricklayer Amarildo Dias de Souza. Unanimously, the judges denied the request of the State of Rio de Janeiro, which tried to reduce the value.
With the decision, in addition to keeping “R$500 thousand to the wife and children of Amarildo,” it was also decided that each of the four brothers of the bricklayer would be entitled to R $ 100 thousand.
Remember the case
On July 14, 2013, the bricklayer went out to buy lemon and garlic to season the fish he had caught for the family. Amarildo was detained by police officers and taken to an interrogation at the UPP (Pacifying Police Unit) at the top of Rocinha, in São Conrado, in the south zone of Rio.
Almost three years later, in February 2016, the court convicted 12 of the 25 military police officers indicted for crimes of torture followed by death, concealment of a corpse and procedural fraud.
In the same year, the Rio state government was ordered to pay the family of Amarildo R $3.9 million – R $ 500 thousand for each of its six children and for his partner and R $ 100 thousand for each his four siblings – plus a monthly pension equal to two thirds of the minimum wage for the widow.
The body of Amarildo to this day has not been found.
Court acquits police accused of torture and death of Amarildo
By Vitor Abdala
The 8th Criminal Chamber of Justice of Rio de Janeiro yesterday acquitted four of the 12 military police officers convicted in the first instance of the torture, death and concealment of the body of the bricklayer assistant Amarildo de Souza, at the base of the Unidade de Polícia Pacificadora (Pacifying Police Unit or UPP) of Rocinha, in July 2013. The police had been convicted by the 35th Criminal Court of the Capital in 2016.
The acquitted are the soldiers Jairo da Conceição Ribas and Fábio Brasil da Rocha, previously sentenced to 10 years and four months in prison, and the police officers Rachel de Souza Peixoto and Thaís Rodrigues Gusmão, nine years and four months.
Jairo and Fábio were accused by the Public Ministry of taking Amarildo to the base of the UPP, participating in the security cordon around the unit while the torture occurred, and helping to conceal the corpse.
Rachel and Thaís were accused of setting up guard around the UPP, along with Jairo and Fábio.
The other eight police officers convicted of the case were convicted, including former UPP commander Rocinha Major Edson Raimundo dos Santos and former deputy commander Lieutenant Luiz Felipe de Medeiros.
The bricklayer assistant Amarildo Dias de Souza disappeared between July 13 and July 14, 2013, after being detained by military police and led, from the door of his house, in the Rocinha favela of south zone Rio, toward the headquarters of the Pacifying Police Unit of the neighborhood. According to Justice, he was tortured and killed by police officers and his body was never found.
Altogether, 25 police officers were prosecuted. One of them died before the decision, and 12 were convicted of the kidnapping, torture, death and concealment of the corpse.