Carlos Alberto Brilhante Ustra was born in 1932.
Between September 1970 and January 1974, he was the commander of the Center for Operations for International Defense, also known as the Sao Paulo secret police.
After the overthrow of the democratically elected Brazilian government of Joao Goulart in 1964, the country was ruled by the military for a period of two decades. The Brazilian generals justified the coup by the communist threat, and rapidly issued a decree suspending the political rights of suspected subversives. Numerous anti-revolutionary armed groups formed in response to the military dictatorship. The Constitution was suspended, the Congress dissolved and thousands were arrested for political dissent.
About 500 Brazilians are believed to have been killed and thousands imprisoned or tortured by the military and police forces between 1964 and 1985.
In his role as the chief of the secret police, Brilhante Ustra was alleged to have been responsible for acts of torture committed against political dissidents while they were detained by the secret police.
Brilhante Ustra wrote two books, entitled “A Verdade Sufocada” (“The Suffocated Truth”) and “Rompendo o Silêncio” (“Breaking the Silence”) in which he refuted theses accusations, denying the fact that he ever personally participated in torture sessions
In 1979, a broad amnesty law was declared for all “crimes related to politics or committed with a political motivation”, which was interpreted over the years as encompassing armed guerrillas and the military alike.
In 2005, the Teles, a family of five, which had been imprisoned for 11 months between 1972 and 1973, filed a civil action against Carlos Alberto Brilhante Ustra in a Sao Paulo state court.