The Ato Institucional Número Cinco – AI-5 (Institutional Act Number Five) was the fifth of seventeen major decree
A decree is a rule of law issued by a head of state , according to certain procedures . It has the force of law...

s issued by the military dictatorship in the years following the 1964 coup d'état in Brazil
Brazil , officially the Federative Republic of Brazil , is the largest country in South America. It is the world's fifth largest country, both by geographical area and by population with over 192 million people...

. Institutional Acts where the highest form of legislation during the military regime, given that, issued on behalf of the "Supreme Command of the Revolution" (the regime's leadership) they overruled even the Nation's Constitution, and were enforced without the possibility of judicial review.

AI-5, the most infamous of all Institutional Acts, was issued by President Artur da Costa e Silva
Artur da Costa e Silva
Artur da Costa e Silva was a Brazilian Army General, the second President of Brazil during the military regime set up by the 1964 coup d'état; he was born only a month before the coup that overthrow Dom Pedro II. He was married to Iolanda Barbosa Costa e Silva, the daughter of a soldier...

 on December 13, 1968.

Written by then Minister of Justice, Luís Antônio da Gama e Silva, it came as a response to earlier events such as a march of over fifty thousand people in Rio de Janeiro
Rio de Janeiro
Rio de Janeiro , commonly referred to simply as Rio, is the capital city of the State of Rio de Janeiro, the second largest city of Brazil, and the third largest metropolitan area and agglomeration in South America, boasting approximately 6.3 million people within the city proper, making it the 6th...

 to protest against the murder of student Edson Luís de Lima Souto
Edson Luís de Lima Souto
Edson Luís de Lima Souto was a Brazilian teenager student killed by the Military Police of Rio de Janeiro after a confrontation in the restaurant Calabouço, in downtown Rio de Janeiro...

 by a member of the Military Police of Rio de Janeiro, the March of the Hundred Thousand, and the decision of the Chamber of Deputies
Chamber of Deputies of Brazil
The Chamber of Deputies of Brazil is a federal legislative body and the lower house of the National Congress of Brazil. As of 2006, the chamber comprises 513 deputies, who are elected by proportional representation to serve four-year terms...

 denying authorization to prosecute Congressman Márcio Moreira Alves, which called Brazilians to boycott the celebrations of September 7 (Independence of Brazil
Brazilian Declaration of Independence
The Brazilian Independence comprised a series of political events occurred in 1821–1823, most of which involved disputes between Brazil and Portugal regarding the call for independence presented by the Brazilian Kingdom...

). It also came to consolidate the ambitions of a group inside the military, known as "hardline", unwilling to give the power back to the civilians anytime soon.


The immediate consequences of the Institutional Act Number Five were:
  • the President of the Republic was given authority to order the National Congress and the State Legislative Assemblies into forced recess; this power was used as soon as AI-5 was signed, resulting in the closure of the National Congress
    National Congress of Brazil
    The National Congress of Brazil is the legislative body of Brazil's federal government.Unlike regional legislative bodies – Legislative Assemblies and City Councils -, the Congress is bicameral, composed of the Federal Senate and the Chamber of Deputies .The Senate represents the 26 states and...

     and all the Legislative Assemblies of the Brazilian States (with the exception of São Paulo
    São Paulo
    São Paulo is the largest city in Brazil, the largest city in the southern hemisphere and South America, and the world's seventh largest city by population. The metropolis is anchor to the São Paulo metropolitan area, ranked as the second-most populous metropolitan area in the Americas and among...

    ) for almost a year; the power to order the National Congress into recess would be used again in 1977. ;
  • The assumption by the President of the Republic and the Governors of the States, during the periods of forced recess of the federal and state Legislatures, respectively, of the fulness of the legislative power, enabiling the President and the Governors to legislate by means of decree-laws, that have the same force and effect as statutes passed by the legislative Chambers. This power included the power to legislate constitutional amendments.
  • the permission for the federal government, under the pretext of "national security", to intervene in states and municipalities, suspending the local authorities and appointing federal interventors to run the states and the municipalities;
  • the preliminary censorship of music, films, theater and television (a work could be censored if it was understood as subverting the political and moral values) and the censorship of the press and of other means of mass communication;
  • the illegality of political meetings not authorized by the police;
  • the suspension of habeas corpus
    Habeas corpus
    is a writ, or legal action, through which a prisoner can be released from unlawful detention. The remedy can be sought by the prisoner or by another person coming to his aid. Habeas corpus originated in the English legal system, but it is now available in many nations...

     for crimes of political motivation.
  • the assumption by the President of the Republic of the power of sacking summarily any public servant, including elected political officers and judges, if they were found to be subversive or un-cooperative with the regime. This power was widely used to vacate the seats of Opposition members in the Legislative branch, so that elections would be held as usual, but the composition of the Legislature resulting from the elections would be dramatically changed by the deprivation of office of Opposition legislators, effectively transforming the Federal, State and even municipal legislatures in rubber-stamp bodies.
  • the assumption by the President of the power to decree the suspension of political rights of citizens deemed subversive, depriving them for up to ten years of the capacity of voting or of standing for election;
  • the instant legitimacy of certain types of decrees issued by the President, that were made not liable to judicial review. Under those provisions, the Institutional Acts themselves, and any action based on an Institutional Act (such as a decree suspending political rights or removing someone from office), were not subject to judicial review.


The AI-5 did not silence a group of Senators from ARENA
National Renewal Alliance Party
The National Renewal Alliance Party or Aliança Renovadora Nacional was a conservative political party that existed in Brazil between 1966 and 1985...

, the political party created to give support for the dictatorship. Under the leadership of Daniel Krieger, the following Senators signed an disagreement message addressed to the president: Gilberto Marinho, Miltom Campos, Carvalho Pinto, Eurico Resende, Manoel Villaça, Wilson Gonçalves, Aloisio de Carvalho Filho, Antonio Carlos Konder Reis, Ney Braga, Mem de Sá, Rui Palmeira, Teotônio Vilela, José Cândido Ferraz, Leandro Maciel, Vitorino Freire, Arnon de Melo, Clodomir Milet, José Guiomard, Valdemar Alcântara e Júlio Leite .

The end of AI-5

In 1978, President Ernesto Geisel
Ernesto Geisel
Ernesto Beckmann Geisel, was a Brazilian military leader and politician of German descent who was President of Brazil from 1974 to 1979.-Early life and family:...

put an end to AI-5 and restored the habeas corpus.

In 2004, it was made a television documentary titled AI-5 – O Dia Que Não Existiu (AI-5 – The Day That Never Existed) analyzing the events prior to the decree and its consequences.
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