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Brazil, Amnesty Act (1979)

Brazil, Amnesty Act (1979)

The Amnesty Act (1979), a bill passed by the Brazilian Congress on 22 August 1979 to provide amnesty to most Brazilian political prisoners and exiles. While benefiting approximately 4,500 people, the act excluded any persons found guilty of murder, kidnapping, or terrorist activities and classified them as common criminals. Sixty-nine amendments were added to the bill, including one that allowed families of missing people to petition for a certificate of presumed death and another that guaranteed normal benefits to families of those political prisoners who had died while in custody. The amendments also allowed exonerated former government employees to petition for reinstatement at their previous grade. By allowing the return of opposition leaders from exile, the Amnesty Act was an important step toward the return of free elections in Brazil.

See alsoHuman Rights .


Marti Harden, ed., Latin American Index (1979), pp. 44, 48, 60, 62.

Maria Helena Moreira Alves, State and Opposition in Military Brazil (1985), pp. 211-212.

Thomas E. Skidmore, The Politics of Military Rule in Brazil, 1964–85 (1988), pp. 218-219.

Additional Bibliography

Ferreira, Elizabeth F. Xavier. Mulheres, militância e memória: Histórias de vida, histórias de sobrevivência. Rio de Janeiro: Fundação Getulio Vargas Editora, 1996.

Gilberto, João Deputado, Guaraciara Barros Leal, and Sérgio Lima. Anistia, 20 anos. Brasília, Brazil: Instituto Teotônio Vilela, 2000.

Martins, Roberto Ribeiro, and Luís Antônio Palmeira. Liberdade para os brasileiros: anistia ontem e hoje. Rio de Janeiro: Civilização Brasileira, 1978.

Souza, Daniel, and Gilmar Chaves. Nossa paixão era inventar um novo tempo. Rio de Janeiro: Editora Rosa dos Tempos, 1999.

                                    Michael J. Broyles

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