Red Fascism in Portugal after April 25, 1974

September 28, 1974: there hundreds of arrests made by COPCON* – late at night, without warrants, the imprisoned are incarcerated in Caxias military prison and other jails.

October 10: 82 arrested clergymen incarcerated in Caxias, other 46 – in Cadeia do Limoeiro, and 233 nuns – in Marine Arsenal.

Books were ordered to be burned in schools.
The dispatch was signed by State Secretary on Pedagogic Orientation, Rui Gracio on Oct. 17, 1974: “Tending information that there exists appreciable quantity of fascist books and magazines, we determined to elaborate a circular ordering to destruct publications of such a character after at least one exemplar chosen of each book and journal being saved in archives to be documents testifying of regime”.
On March 26, 1975 Director-General of Education Committee, Maria Justina Sepulveda Fonseca announced to librarians through circular #1\75 that they “should not lose an opportunity to launch, urgently, a sanation of books which do not meet ideological, literary or technical conditions”.
In this period ministers of education were Vitorino Magalhaes Godinho and Major Antonio Emilio da Silva.
Amongst authors, whose books were burnt in schools according orders of authorities, were historians Antonio Matoso and Jose Hermano Saraiva (Minister of National Education 1968-1970), who declared on July 24, 2005: “Teachers in general did not want to [execute instructions of Ministry] and many of them saved books. But who would dare to protest openly?.. I did not. I was poor, was afraid to be left without pension or even sent to Caxias. My friends were imprisoned for less sins. Before April 25, 1974 there were 88 prisoners in Portugal, three months later there were 3,000 of them. Liberty ended on Apr. 25”.
The commission collected complaints from 17 persons on illegal activity committed by personnel of Regiment of military police (RPM).
For instance:
– a civil person, arrested on Oct. 17, 1975 for suspicion of collaboration in aggression or robbery attempt towards a military man, complained that he had been “beaten for five days which caused many physical injuries” and had been “made to crawl naked around the parade-ground, to kiss their boots and the regiment’s emblem”;
– “many refer attempts of sexual violence, threatens by death of gun or throwing out of the window”;
– a military man, arrested because of a prostitute claiming he was a gang leader, “was threated that they would beat his eight-years-old son till he admit his crimes”.
It was underlined that “in RPM reigned the ambience of general indiscipline, even anarchy”. There were cases of tortures resulting in victims’ being hospitalized unconscious.

Concerning activity of personnel of First artillery regiment, or Lisbon artillery regiment (RALIS) the commission got complaints from 11 persons.
For instance:
– Jose Jaime Coelho, ex-Marine, was “sequestered” on May 15, 1975 by military men of RALIS and a civil person, and driven, blind-folded, to some house where he “was interrogated and maltreated”. The interrogation concerned some activity related to an eventual coup d’etat. “His hands and legs tied, he was beaten up till fainting, was tortured psychically seeing his kidnapped wife and indecent acts taken towards her and hearing her cries”. He was then taken to another house where “his eyes were radiated with infra-red rays” and they threated him with death. Then, after being hospitalized for some time, he had been incarcerated in Caxias in incommunicability regime for three months. His wife, Maria Natercia Coelho da Silva, was kidnapped from a hotel where she stayed, on May 15, 1975, by some camouflaged men. She was driven t a house where she was tied in presence of her husband. She was beaten up in presence of her tied husband, threatened with death and raped;
– Lieutenant Marcelino da Mata “was tortured by electrical shocking his nose, ears and sexual organs”;
– A military student Jose Antonio Cardoso Veloso and his father, a judge-counsellor of Supreme Administrative Tribunal, Francisco Jose de Sousa Veloso, were arrested on May 18, 1975. They were driven to RALIS quarters, where the judge “was interrogated concerning abuses and his son was tortured and beaten”. They pretended to confess  being part of “contre-revolutionary network preparing a coup against the regime”. They were beaten in face and body with arms and belts, kicked with feet, beaten against the wall – with heads and whole bodies, their hands and sexual organs were screwed, they were being strangled and cut with razors. 

Personnel of RPM and RALIS was accused of illegal incarceration, tortures and physical violence towards military and civil persons.
– There were hundreds of illegal arrests, especially those made after Sept. 28 and March 11and responsibility for which lies on personnel of RPM;
– Some arrests were results of anonymous announcements or other kinds of information or indications of political parties, many – of verbal solicitations made by phone, particularly from Prime-Minister’s office, Ministry of Labour, Service on Coordination of Extinction of PIDE/DGS** and Portuguese Legion, commission on September 28***, inquiry comission on March 11****, Admiral Rosa Coutinho’s office;
– in many cases arrests were made without warrants;
– search and arrest warrants given by COPCON, were in general signed blank, unfilled;
– there were cases of incarceration for long terms, during which prisoners were left completely abandoned;
– many interrogations were made by incompetent military and civil representatives of political organizations;
– there were cases of systematical tortures and physical violence causing heavy injuries (in cases of victims of RALIS);
– in other cases physical tortures were of some sporadic character (victims of RPM);
– there were many cases of physical violence towards prisoners and beating by several men simultaneously;
– there were cases of moral tortures, insults, threatenings – particularly with fire weapons;
– former agents of PIDE\DGS had been imprisoned for more than two years without judgement;
– there were imprisonments in incommunicability and isolation regime for different terms depending on military men’s wishes, up to five-month term. This regime included deprivation of physical exercises and contacts with lawyers;
– there were cases of bad medicine treatment causing prisoners’ health’s worsening, deprivation of hygiene accessories;
– in RPM 60 prisoners were kept in a room meant for no more than 8.

March 11, 1975 – firing at mini-van.

This episode was filmed by a group of some foreign TV-company (French one) which stayed near the entrance to RALIS quarters during this event. This film, which was shown in Portugal for the first time in many years, shows a mini-van with two man inside slowing down and stopping near a barricade constructed by soldiers near RALIS quarters. It’s impossible to tell exactly what was going on while the van stayed near RALIS, there are different versions of the words with which could change soldiers and men in the van.

Then there was a signal given that they may go and the van started and a few moments later shooting began, which sounded till the van stopped again. Camera closes on it and one can see two men inside it covered with blood and crying for help and saying they had not done anything bad… This film shooted by a foreign TV-company and related to important events of Portugal’s past, has remained unknown in Portugal for many years – in Portugal which was so proud of censorship’s ending as a result of Apr. 25…
*) Continental Operational Command, a military structure created after Apr. 25 coup. Consisted of special military forces, such as marines, paratroopers, commandos, military police, Infantry of Queluz and RALIS. Was a mighty centre of leftist propaganda and actionism. Existed till Nov. 28, 1975, was annihilated after leftist putsch’s fail.
**) Portuguese secret service, 1930s-1974. Annihilated after April coup.
***) General Spinola’s attempt to cease outspreading of red totalitarianism in Portugal. Spinola’s attempt failed and he had to resign.
****) Gen. Spinola attempt to regain power and stop communism
the materials in Portuguese were used while writing:

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