Rabbi who challenged Brazil’s dictatorship dies in Miami
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Rabbi who challenged Brazil’s dictatorship dies in Miami

Henry Sobel was outspoken critic of military regime’s human rights abuses during 1970s

Rabbi Henry Sobel of Brazil speaks during the opening session of the 9th Doha Conference of Interfaith Dialogue in Doha, Qatar on Monday Oct 24, 2011. (AP/Osama Faisal)
Rabbi Henry Sobel of Brazil speaks during the opening session of the 9th Doha Conference of Interfaith Dialogue in Doha, Qatar on Monday Oct 24, 2011. (AP/Osama Faisal)

SAO PAULO — Rabbi Henry Sobel, a leading human rights activist during Brazil’s military dictatorship, died Friday of lung cancer in a Miami hospital, his family said in a statement.

Sobel, 75, was born in Lisbon to a family of Polish immigrants and became a rabbi in New York. He arrived in Brazil in the 1970s and stayed for three decades.

His biggest challenge to Brazil’s dictatorship came in 1975 after the killing of journalist Vladimir Herzog in prison.

Authorities falsely claimed Herzog had committed suicide. Sobel decided to bury Herzog in the middle of a Jewish cemetery instead in one of the corners, as often happens to faithful that take their own lives.

Several Brazilian leaders from left, center and right sent condolences to the Sobel family.

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