Former Top Intelligence Official Indicted In Death Of Brazilian Journalist
RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil (AP) _ Gen. Newton Cruz, a former top Brazilian intelligence official, was charged Wednesday with the murder of a journalist.
″I have strong indications of his involvement. I have indicted him. Now he can present his defense in court,″ said Ivan Vasquez de Souza, the police official in charge of investigating the 1982 death of Alexandre Von Baumgarten. Cruz was the No. 2 Man in Brazil’s National Information Service, an agency that combines the duties of the American FBI and CIA, when a fishing boat carrying Baumgarten, his wife and the boat’s captain disappeared Oct. 13, 1982, off the coast near Rio de Janeiro.
Baumgarten’s body later washed up on a nearby beach. He had been shot three times. Two bodies identified as his wife, Jeanette, and the captain, Manoel Valente Pires, were found later.
Vasquez said the charge against Cruz was brought largely on testimony from dancer Claudio Werner Polila, who said he witnessed Baumgarten being kidnapped by a man he identified as Cruz. ″My investigations indicate (Gen. Cruz’s) involvement,″ Vasquez said in a televised interview.
The general’s lawyer, Clovis Sahione, said in a separate televised interview that Cruz ″could prove he was in Brasilia,″ the inland capital, on the night of Baumgarten’s disappearance on the coast. Cruz, who holds a position in the army’s personnel department in Brasilia, could not be reached for comment Wednesday night.
The journalist’s death became front-page news in Brazil three months ago when the investigation was reopened.
The alleged involvement of the intelligence agency first came to light in February 1983, when the Brazilian news magazine Veja published a dossier it said Baumgerten had prepared, in his words, ″in case of violence or (my death.″
The dossier contained purported evidence of an attempt by the intelligence agency to take over Baumgarten’s failing Cruziero magazine and charges by Baumgarten that the agency was planning his ″physical extinction.″
The dossier specifically cited Cruz as being involved in the alleged plot. Cruz denied the charges at the time they were first published.