by David Browne
The British Embassy in Brazil has agreed to watch closely the situation of detained Young Christian Students leader, Edval Nunes da Silva, and to report back on the case to the YCS in Britain.
Da Silva, better known as Caja, is the National Organiser of YCS Brazil and a member of the Justice and Peace Commission of the diocese of Olinda and Recife. He was arrested in May and charged with the offence of reorganising a clandestine political party.
The Catholic Institute for International Relations has described the charge as clearly unfounded. In a letter to Dr Roberto Campos, Brazilian Ambassador in London CI1R say that the charges against Caja, and other workers in the Church's Youth Pastoral Work in the North East of Brazil, seem to be an attempt
to disrupt and discredit the work of the Church.
Caja and other students, including a member of the Salesian Order and a deacon in the Dominicans, were arrested under the National Security Law, have been tortured and were held incomunicado for some time.
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office in London has told the Executive of YCS about the conditions under which Caja is being held.
"He is being held in a state prison for common criminals where conditions are extremely bad: overcrowding, bad sanitation and very poor food" said Mr David Stephen, Political Adviser at the Foreign Office. "Caja's lawyers have protested, apparently correctly, that he should have been put in a Federal jail for political prisoners" he said.
Caja is now allowed visitors and has been seen by Dom Heide Camara, Archbishop of Olinda and Recife, in the Mourao Filho prison in Recife.
CIIR has received reports from Dom Marcelo Pinto Carvalheira, the Bishap responsible for youth pastoral work in Brazil, and on the basis on the reports has urged the Brazilian Ambassador in London to intervene in the case.