Brazilian Journalist Kidnapped, Murdered

Wednesday, June 12, 2002
Canadian Journalists for Free Expression (CJFE) deplores the murder of a colleague in Brazil, allegedly at the hands of a drug lord. Tim Lopes, an award-winning investigative reporter with TV Globo in Brazil, disappeared on June 2 while researching a story on drug trafficking and sexual exploitation of minors in the slums of Rio de Janeiro. Rio police confirmed on June 9 he had been brutally murdered, becoming the world's 25th journalist to die violently in 2002. "Canadian journalists are horrified at the brutal nature of this crime," said CJFE Executive Director Joel Ruimy. "We are pleased that President Fernando Henrique Cardoso strongly condemned the killing and we urge his government to continue its aggressive pursuit of the people responsible for this crime." Rio police say they have arrested two members of a gang headed by a local drug lord. They say the two denied personal involvement in the kidnap and murder of the 50-year-old Lopes. But they told of hearing how Lopes was forced into a car and taken to drug lord Elias Pereira da Silva the night of June 2. There, he was beaten and shot in the feet so that he could not escape. After a mock trial, da Silva allegedly killed Lopes with a sword. The body was burned, then buried. Police still have not recovered his remains. Lopes received Brazil's most important journalism award in December 2001 for a TV Globo report on drug trafficking. The report, entitled "Drug Fair," was broadcast in August 2001 and was filmed with a hidden camera. It showed traffickers selling drugs at a makeshift open market in the slums of Rio de Janeiro. CJFE is an association of journalists, writers, editors, publishers and others who work to promote and defend free expression in Canada and around the world. For more information, please contact Joel Ruimy at CJFE, tel: 416 515 9622, fax: 416 515 7879, email: [email protected]

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