Joaquim Lemos de Oliveira

(Fafe, 21-05-1908 – Porto, 14-02-1957)

Joaquim Lemos de Oliveira, a barber, known as “Repas”, was born in Fafe, in 1908, and was the son of Emília de Lemos and Joaquim de Oliveira. He joined the Communist Youth in 1922, at the age of 14 or 15. His militancy in the Portuguese Communist Party (PCP) led to his arrest five times between 1936 and 1957.

In October 1936, he was arrested for the first time for inquiries and, in August 1937, he was transferred to the Prison of Peniche, being tried and sentenced to twenty months in prison, of which he had already served two hundred and ninety-three days when he was released on 14 June 1938. During this imprisonment, he was assaulted by the political police officer Roquete, a famous former football player.

He was arrested again in November 1949 by the National Republican Guard (GNR) for “crimes against state security”. Returned to freedom in May 1950, he was arrested in Fafe a few days later by the International and State Defence Police (PIDE) for inquiries.

Tried by the 2nd Criminal Court of Porto, on 10 February 1950, he was sentenced to two years of imprisonment or, alternatively, three years of exile and suspension of all political rights for fifteen years, a sentence confirmed by the ruling of the Supreme Court of Justice on 26 October 1950.

He was arrested for the fourth time on 15 August 1951 and reportedly spent two years in the PIDE dungeon in Porto, being then sent, on 16 June 1953, to the Prison of Peniche due to special security measures, and in June 1954 he was released.

Arrested for the fifth and last time in January 1957, in Fafe, for inquiries into crimes against state security, he was sent to the PIDE delegation in Porto.

He died on 14 February 1957 in one of the cells of the PIDE’s Sub-directorate in Porto after being brutally tortured, among others, by the deputy director Costa Pereira, and several days of statue and sleep deprivation. His corpse was secretly autopsied and the results concealed. PIDE tried to prohibit the funeral that ended up taking place despite the police apparatus, constituting a moment of great indignation.

The death, at the age of 48, of Joaquim Lemos de Oliveira, who had left four children, motivated several protests, and the mobilisation and campaign condemning his murder, in Viana do Castelo, led to the arrest and, later on, the death of Manuel Fiúza Júnior, less than a month later.

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