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Brazil2 October 2007

Four suspects arrested in shooting of crime reporter, authorities rule out targeted attack

Four youths, including two minors, were arrested on 27 September on suspicion of involvement in the 19 September shooting of Correio Braziliense crime reporter Amaury Ribeiro Junior in a Brasilia suburb. The person who fired the shots that wounded Ribeiro is still being sought. The two minors are being held in a centre for the reeducation of adolescents.

One of the detained suspects, Fábio Gonçalves da Silva, 19, has a police record of robbery and murder when a minor. A few days before the shooting, he was given weekend leave from the centre in which he was being held, and failed to return.

Ribeiro was researching a story on organised crime at the time of the shooting, but on 28 September the Goiás state security department formally ruled out any possibility that it was a targeted attack and said the police were working on the assumption that he was shot in the course of an ordinary hold-up.

20.09 - Reporter shot and wounded while investigating organised crime in a Brasilia suburb

Reporters Without Borders voiced concern today about Amaury Ribeiro Junior, a crime reporter with the Correio Braziliense national daily, who was hospitalised yesterday after being shot in the stomach on a street in the Brasilia suburb of Cidade Occidental, where he had gone to cover organised crime.

“We do not yet know if Ribeiro was personally targeted or if he was the victim of random criminal violence, but he was in the area to investigate drug trafficking,” the press freedom organisation said. “We call for a swift and thorough investigation to identify those responsible for this murder attempt.”

The gunmen who shot Ribeiro outside a bar have not been identified and the police have not made any arrests.

Ribeiro, who is from the southeastern state of Minas Gerais, has written many stories for Correio Braziliense about violence and drug trafficking in the Brasilia area. He had been investigating in Cidade Occidental for more than a month, interviewing youths linked to gangs and families who had been the victims of violence. Because of threats, he was using a car without Correio Braziliense or press markings.

Correio Braziliense’s recent articles about violence in the capital and surrounding region have elicited promises of action from the municipal authorities. The federal government has also announced that the police will be reinforced in the region.

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