Matheus Leitão

Matheus Leitão


Matheus Leitão Netto was born in Brasilia in 1977. He specialized in investigative journalism and received the most important awards in his field, such as the Barbosa Lima Sobrinho Prize, Esso, the Award for Journalistic Excellence of the Inter-American Press Association and an honorable mention in the Vladimir Herzog Prize.

He worked for newspapers Correio Braziliense and Folha de São Paulo, for the magazine Época and for the iG website, besides being a Visiting Scholar at the University of Berkeley, California. He currently publishes the Matheus Leitão Blog on Politics & Police, in G1 – the Brazilian leading website. ON BEHALF OF HIS PARENTS is his first book.


Since he was a small boy, Matheus Leitão could hear the words “persecution”, “prison” and “basement” often whispered by his parents, journalists Marcelo Netto and Miriam Leitão. The scary word “torture” appeared much later. Moved by the curiosity about the family’s past, with a young investigative mind, Matheus began collecting fragments of a painful history. It all began in 1972, in Espírito Santo, when his parents were active in the underground Communist Party of Brazil (PCdoB). After a Party comrade reported them to the Police, Miriam and Marcelo were arrested and tortured. At the time, Miriam was pregnant with Vladimir, the couple’s first child. Marcelo spent a year in solitary confinement. Matheus pursued a career as a journalist, focusing on human rights and the Brazilian past under a military dictatorship.

ON BEHALF OF HIS PARENTS is the result of his tireless investigations, which began with the search for the informant and moved on to locate the agents who would have participated in their parents torture sessions. Past and present are intertwined in this work, which rigorously reconstructs the events from the early 70s and, at the same time, presents the author’s exciting pilgrimage for Brazil in his search for answers.It is the story of parents and children, of reconciliation and responsibility, of impossible encounters. It is also a story of a country that is still reluctant to settle accounts with its dark past. A TV series produced concomitantly with the book and under the same title will be showed in four episodes by Latin HBO from April 2018 on in Portuguese and Spanish.

Publication/Status: by Intrínseca (Brazil) in May, 2017. [448 pages]