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Brazilian president fights back tears as report on torture and killings released

Brazil's president Dilma Rousseff wept as she released the findings of the country's national truth commission which stated torture, killings and forced disappearances were rife under military rule.

The report said it was “systematic practice” for such human rights abuses to occur under Brazil's military rule from 1964 to 1985. “Under the military dictatorship, repression and the elimination of political opposition became the policy of the state, conceived and implemented based on decisions by the president of the republic and military ministers,” the report states. The commission went on to add it “totally rejects the explanation offered up until today that the serious violations of human rights constituted a few isolated acts or excesses resulting from the zeal of a few soldiers”.

The United States and United Kingdom are also named in the truth commission report as to having been at fault for training Brazilian troops on interrogation techniques, which ultimately led to the torture of suspects.

Rousseff, a former Marxist guerilla, experienced this first hand. She was detained by the security forces for three years, reportedly beaten and given electric shocks. She fought back tears as she unveiled the report's findings and received a standing ovation.

“Brazil deserves the truth,” she said. “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.”

“We, who believe in the truth, hope that this report contributes to make it so that ghosts from a sad and painful past are no longer able to find shelter in silence,” she added.

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