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BRAZIL - Two Journalists Shot to Death

Wednesday 15 February 2012 - 12:00am

RAN 09/12 15 February 2011

The Writers in Prison Committee (WiPC) of PEN International protests the recent murders of two Brazilian journalists, Paulo Roberto Cardoso Rodrigues and Mario Randolpho Marques Lopes. Both men were killed in attacks that bore the hallmarks of contracted assassinations. In the last 2 years, seven print journalists have been killed in Brazil. The WiPC calls on the Brazilian authorities to investigate these murders as a matter of the utmost urgency, and to bring those responsible to justice.

Paulo Roberto Cardoso Rodrigues – better known as Paulo Rocaro – was shot to death in Ponta Porá on the night of 12 February 2012. He was the editor of the local daily Jornal Da Praça and the news website Mercosul News.

Rocaro had been driving home when he was attacked by two armed men riding a motorcycle. They fired at least five bullets into him.
Rocaro, 51, reported on politics. According to local reports, he had been critical of the local mayor and had publicly lent his support to a rival mayoral candidate. On the night he was killed, the journalist had been returning home after a meeting with the opposition candidate.

The killing took place near the Paraguayan border, a region of Brazil known for organized criminal activity and for political corruption. Police are reportedly investigating the crime as a possible contract killing, and are looking into political motives, among others.

In a separate incident, Mario Randolpho Marques Lopes, editor-in-chief of the news website Vassouras na Net was murdered alongside his girlfriend on 8-9 February 2012. The couple were abducted from his home in the city of Barra do Piraí in Rio de Janeiro state on 8 February. Both were found dead the following day; Randolpho had been shot in the head.

Randolpho, 50, wrote articles that frequently accused local officials of being corrupt; his most recent piece leveled charges of corruption at local judges and courts.

Randolpho had been the victim of violence previously. In July 2012, an unidentified gunman entered the Vassouras na Net newsroom and shot the journalist five times in the head. The attack left Randolpho in a coma for three days, but miraculously, he recovered.

For further information on previous PEN cases from Brazil please see:

Valério Nascimento (shot dead in May 2011);

Auro Ida (shot dead in July 2011).

Please send appeals:
Protesting the murders of Paulo Roberto Cardoso Rodrigues and Mario Randolpho Marques Lopes;
Noting that seven print journalists have been murdered in the space of two years;
Calling on the Brazilian authorities to carry out a full and impartial investigation into the killings as a matter of urgency, and to ensure that the culprits are brought to justice.

Appeals to:

Federal Minister of Justice
Exmo. Ministro
Sr. José Eduardo Cardozo
Ministério da Justiça
Esplanada dos Ministérios, Bloco "T", 70712-902 - Brasília/DF Brasil
Fax: + 55 61 3322 6817/ 3224 3398
Electronic messages can be send via the Minister’s website
Salutation: Dear Minister

Federal Human Rights Secretary
Secretaria Especial de Direitos Humanos
Exmo. Secretário Especial
Sra. Maria do Rosário Nunes
Esplanada dos Ministérios, Bloco "T" - 4º andar, 70064-900 Brasília/DF - Brasil
Fax: + 55 61 3226 7980
Salutation: Dear Secretary

Please also send copies of your appeals to the Brazilian Embassy in your country. Details of some Brazilian embassies can be found here:

***Please send appeals immediately. Check with International PEN if sending appeals after 30 March 2012.***

For further details please contact Cathal Sheerin at the Writers in Prison Committee London Office: PEN International, Brownlow House, 50-51 High Holborn, London WC1V 6ER Tel: +44 (0) 207 405 0338 Fax +44 (0) 207 405 0339 email: