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Brazil5 May 2004

Journalist murdered in Pernambuco State

Araújo, 37, was killed by two assailants as he left a recording studio at the radio station in Timbaúba, 100 km from the state capital Recife, close to his home on 24 April. The killers stole nothing from him.

Police on 27 April arrested a man suspected of the murder, Helton Jonas Gonçalves de Oliveira, aged 18. They said he had confessed to the killing after the journalist accused him in his programme, "José Carlos Entrevista" of being behind several murders.

The popular local journalist used the programme to expose the existence of murder squads and the alleged involvement of local figures in criminal cases. Head of programmes, Caetano Marinho, confirmed to Reporters Without Borders that Araújo’s programme focused on legal cases and that he had exposed murders committed by his attacker.

Police commissioner, Guilherme Mesquita, quoted in the local press, said that, with accomplice Marcelo Melo, 22, de Oliveira borrowed a motorbike from a third accomplice, Fernando Motoqueiro, to kill the journalist. De Oliveira was charged with illegaly carrying a firearm and two other murders in the town that year. Police told Reporters Without Borders that the motorbike used in the crime had been found but the second man was still being sought.

"This murder shows once again that criminal gangs and delinquents are regularly targeting journalists working in small provincial towns," said the international press freedom organisation

The organisation welcomed the fact that the killer had been arrested and called on the state authorities to do everything possible to find and arrest his accomplice.

Radio journalist Samuel Roman was killed on 20 April in Coronel Sapucaia, a small town in Mato Grosso do Sul State on the border with Paraguay. He exposed drug trafficking and crime that are rampant in the region along with the activities of local politicians

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