Prominent Brazil journalist recalls dictatorship torture

8/19/2014

Prominent Brazilian journalist Miriam Leitao spoke out Wednesday on the torture she was subjected to by the military regime in the 1970s, rejecting army claims that its units committed no abuses.

Speaking publicly on her detention for the first time since she testified before a military tribunal in 1973, Leitao, one of Brazil's most influential journalists, recalled being severely beaten as a young pregnant student detained at an army barracks where she was locked in a dark cell with a large snake.

"I had no idea if it was day or night, in a room sealed off with black plastic to keep it dark. And I was there, naked, alone with a boa. Me and my fear, which was even worse because I couldn't see anything, but I knew the snake was there," she told website Observatorio de la Prensa.

Leitao was arrested in December 1972 by a group of armed men who took her to an army barracks where she was interrogated.

"They hit me, kicked me, pulled my hair, beat my head against the wall. I was bleeding from the back of my head," she said.

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