a communication dated August 22, 1974, the following was denounced:
young woman, a 20-year-old student and professor, NIBIA ZABALZAGARAY,
(was) killed as a result of tortures inflicted at the Police Station at
Señaleros, located in the El Peñarol neighborhood of Montevideo.
Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, in a note dated October 8,
1974, transmitted the pertinent parts of the denunciation to the
Government of Uruguay and requested that it provide the appropriate
Government, in a note date May 23, 1975, requested a ninety-day
extension in order to provide the information requested;
Commission, in a note dated June 12, 1975, granted a thirty-day
extension to the Government, which elapsed on July 12, 1975;
Government of Uruguay, in a note dated July 12, 1975, reported the
following to the Commission:
- The death of Miss Nibia Zabalzagaray
individual in question was detained on July 29, 1974 and within 24 hours
of her detention she committed suicide in her cell.
competent judicial organ intervened, ordering an opinion from the
forensic physician. His reports states: 'asphyxiation by suspension'
(hanging) as the cause of death.
intervening Judge, in the absence of proof of any illegality, closed the
proceedings on August 2, 1974.
claimant, in a communication dated July 8, 1975, provided additional
information to the Commission, the pertinent parts of which appear
ZABALZAGARAY - professor of literature, single, 24 years of age.
individual was detained, tortured and killed, all within a period of 10
hours, on Saturday, June 29, 1974.
1:30 a.m., three men dressed in military uniforms and two civilians
appeared at her room at the Campomar Home for Workers' Children in
Montevideo (she was a native of the Department of Colonia). They
interrogated her as to her political convictions and left with her at
3:00 a.m. and refused to reveal their identity and the place to which
they were taking her.
hours later, those in charge of the residence received a phone call
informing them that Nibia Zabalzagaray had died and that they should
inform some member of the family so that the latter might claim her body
at the Military Hospital. Her uncles appeared there and were informed
that Nibia was dead on arrival at the Hospital, and that her personal
effects and her clothing (she was nude) should be claimed at the
barracks of the Engineers Battalion No 5 and Transmissions Service
(Camino Casavalle, Montevideo).
death certificate, issued by Dr José Alejandro Mautone, attributed the
death to suicide by hanging.
relatives were denied the necessary authorization to conduct another
autopsy. The corpse, however, underwent an external examination by
experts, the results of which contradicted the official ruling.
true cause of her death is asphyxiation through application of the
torture known as the "dry submarine" (application of a plastic
bag on the head, thereby preventing breathing) or cardiac arrest under
judicial action was taken as a result of the death of Nibia
Zabalzagaray. No official received any military disciplinary punishment.
Commission, in a note date October 24, 1975, forwarded to the Government
of Uruguay the pertinent parts of the additional information provided by
the claimant, and requested that the Government provide the following
A copy of the legal record and actions taken during the
proceedings that were closed by the intervening judge on August 2, 1974,
'in the absence of proof of any illegality,' as stated in the
corresponding part of the note from Your Excellency's Government of July
12 of this year.
A copy of the autopsy on the corpse of Miss Nibia Zabalzagaray.
Government of Uruguay, in a note dated May 18, 1976, refused to provide
the information specified in the foregoing paragraph;
date, the Government of Uruguay has still not provided the Commission
either a copy of the actions taken during the proceedings or a copy of
the autopsy on the corpse of Miss Nibia Zabalzagaray; and
the information provided by the Government itself, it is concluded that
no other proceeding or internal remedy is pending decision,
INTER-AMERICAN COMMISSION ON HUMAN RIGHTS, RESOLVES:
1. To declare that
all available information leads to the presumption that the cause of
death of Miss Nibia Zabalzagaray, who was arrested by authorities and
died ten hours after her arrest while in the custody of authorities, was
a consequence of acts of violence she experienced during her detention.
2. To point out to
the Government of Uruguay that the events denounced constitute a serious
violation of the right to life (Article I of the American Declaration of
the Rights and Duties of Man).
3. To recommend to
the Government: a) that it order a thorough and impartial investigation
to determine the true cause of the death denounced and, in accordance
with Uruguayan laws, punish the individual or individuals responsible,
should it be proven that a murder has been committed; b) that it advise
the Commission of the measures taken to implement the recommendations
contained in the above section within a period of no more than thirty
4. To forward this
resolution to the Government of Uruguay and to claimants.
5. To include this
resolution in its Annual Report to the General Assembly of the
Organization (Article 9 (bis), c, iii of the Statute) if the Government
has not advised the Commission of the measures it has taken to conduct
the investigation recommended under operative paragraph 3 within a
at meeting Nº 559th, January 30, 1978 (45th
Session) and forwarded to the Government of Uruguay on February 21,