By Kaitlyn Degnan
Impunity Watch Reporter, South America
SAO PAULO, Brazil — Volkswagen and Brazilian justice officials will negotiate a settlement for the torture of Volkswagen employees during Brazil’s military dictatorship. The company is accused for allowing the torture and detention of employees who opposed the dictatorship.
The Brazilian National Truth Commission, implemented by President Dilma Rousseff in 2012 to investigate allegations of crimes and other wrongdoing during the military dictatorship of 1964 to 1985, released a final report in December 2014 saying that Volkswagen collaborated with the regime in 1972. Volkswagen handed over facilities near Sao Paolo to the regime, which were then used as detention and torture centers.
Activists representing former Volkswagen employees filed a complaint in September alleging that 12 Volkswagen employees were arrested and tortured at the factory in Sao Bernardo do Campo, which is near Sao Paolo. Other employees were allegedly laid off and placed on regime blacklists.
Lucio Bellentani, a former Volkswagen employee and communist activist reported that he was taken “in handcuffs to the personnel department” where he was tortured.
Brazilian justice officials are considering using the reparation funds to build a memorial or museum dedicated to the victims of the military dictatorship – though talks are still ongoing. Manfred Greiger, a Volkswagen official has said that discussions will go on at least into 2016: “we want to look at the pros and cons of the next steps to be taken.”
At least 400 people were disappeared during Brazil’s military dictatorship. Volkswagen is the only company named in the Truth Commission’s report to conduct its own investigation into allegations.
For more information, please see: