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Journalist Executed in Brazil with 8 Shots to the Head

International pro-free-press organization Reporters Without Borders voiced dismay on learning that freelance photographer Robson Barbosa Bezerra was gunned down on the evening of  February 8 as he was returning home in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

The organization expressed its condolences to the family and urged the Brazilian police to investigate the possibility that he was killed in connection with his work.

"If it is confirmed that the motive was linked to his work, Barbosa will be the eighth journalist to be killed in connection with their professional activity since 2002," the press freedom organization said.

"Brazil continues to be dangerous for independent, local journalists. While not ignoring his police record and personal conflicts, we urge investigators not to rule out a professional motive. Barbosa believed he was under threat and his murder looks like a contract killing."

Barbosa, 41, was killed at around 8 pm as he was returning to his home in the north Rio de Janeiro district of Abolição. He was parking his car when gunmen fired eight times, hitting him in the head.

Police found 1,600 reais (US$ 758) in cash, a gold-plated ring and his watch on the body, as well as his credit card and personal documents including a National Federation of Journalists (FENAJ) membership card. This rules out theft as a motive.

Barbosa had reported receiving threats and being attacked a few days before his murder. While not so far ruling out that it was connected to his journalistic work, the police have pointed out that he had a police record.

In December, he was arrested in the course of physically attacking his former wife, Renata Mathias. As well as being prosecuted for conjugal violence, a complaint was a lodged against him after a recent altercation with a colleague.

The O Globo newspaper reported that police inspector Carlos Gomes questioned his mother, his sister, the caretaker of the building where he had his office, and a fourth person who has not been identified.

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  • Show Comments (13)

  • VINCENT SILVA

    DOES ANYONE KNOW WHERE IS A SAFER PLACE TO LIVE? IS IT RIO OR BAGDAD? 8)

  • Maks

    Rio=6.2 million people – 3650 people per year
    UK/10=6.1 million people = 6.8people per year
    RioX10= 62 million people = 33,650 people per year
    UK=61 million people – 68 people per year

    How can these statistics possibly make you feel better. When I lived in Rio, I personally saw people getting killed in crossfire. I have to say that I have never personally seen a person getting killed in the UK.

  • bob

    WoW
    So if someone randomly kills someone in the U.S. itˢ۪s terrible, but if 10 people die/day mind you for a cause (you have what they want so they kill you) thatˢ۪s ok? WOW.

  • Simpleton

    OMG, Sorry for tossing in the thing about one isolated incident in my last post – I’m so inflamatory / so hypocritical – I did what it was that I was being critical of someone else of doing. That one poor soul wouldn’t sway the statistics in the least!

    Here’s a question that might sway things to being not as bad as some make them out to be: How many of the 10 per day could be written off as deaths of innocent bystanders in the wild wild west type shoot’em ups between the bad guys and the good guys, bad guys and bad guys, good guys and good guys? Discounting those might have a significant effect on the numbers and make me feel even better with accepting things just the way they are. I’m quite comfortable living amongst the PB’s, they are some of the nicest and honest to the core that I’ve had the privledge to spend time with.

    Ric – I think you’re right on target. I hope you don’t have to live as a potential one either.

  • Ric

    Simpleton
    Certainly you may.

    One factor no one has mentioned is that even though Brazil is far and above, statistically more dangerous than the USA, and Rio far more violent that NY, for example, what Brazil lacks is the randomness and senselessness of many shootings in the USA.

    If you get robbed, mugged, kidnapped or offed in Brazil, itÀ‚´s for some reason. They want your money, they want your car, they want ransom; or they are after vengeance or have been paid to off you because you have screwed up big time or are in a position to expose someone or etc.

    But the random, senseless, school or sniper killings are missing. Which makes Brazil more predictable. You can armor a car according to the level of risk you present; you can avoid areas and certain types of behavior; you can see profiles, profit from news of latest angles, avoid stupid mistakes.

    Whereas in the USA you can do all those things and still get popped off by some fruitcake. Of course the statistical possibility of that is very low, but that thought doesnÀ‚´t comfort the victim of the senseless, meaningless drive-by shooting.

  • Simpleton

    New and better numbers
    10 per day, 6.2 million (is that Rio or the whole state of RIo?). Using these numbers makes things seem better – only 4 times as much per capita. I feel much better returning already. Can I subtract the one Portugues student I saw on the beach last year upfront an personal as a “don’t count”?

  • bo

    [quote]only as safe as you make it
    written by Forrest Allen Brown, 2007-02-13 21:11:12

    DEPENDS ON WHAT UNIFORM YOU ARE IN !!!!!

    if you are a civilian well send someone to buy your food [/quote]

    [b]LMAO!!!![/b] 😉

  • Forrest Allen Brown

    only as safe as you make it
    DEPENDS ON WHAT UNIFORM YOU ARE IN !!!!!

    if you are a civilian well send someone to buy your food

  • VINCENT SILVA

    WHICH IS SAFER PER CAPITA, BAGDAD OR RIO.

  • Maks

    I have to agree with bo
    [b]ONLY[/b] 6-7times….

    In Rio, 10 people die (officially reported deaths that is) per day due to violence (ie…gun crimes)…If we have a look at the statistics from Mr Moore’s documentary … the UK has a rate of 68 gun related crimes per year….with a population of 61million = 0.186 deaths per day.
    Rio= 6.2million
    UK= 61million
    UK=10 times bigger than Rio de Janeiro
    If Rio was the size of the UK, it would have 100 deaths per day
    100 deaths per day compared with 0.186 deaths per day
    Rio is 538 times more violent than the UK….where would you prefer to live?

    Please, correct my statistics if they be wrong.

  • bo

    [quote]…
    written by Simpleton, 2007-02-13 05:19:12

    GO AWAY WILL YA. Rough math I did last night using most likely flawed data (10 day reported refactored to 365 in early 2007 vs whole year 2006 and my last best guestimate of total popupulation applicable to the respective zones) showed Rio had a murder rate only 6 to 7 times higher per capita than the megolopolis where I live.[/quote]

    Rough math? Flawed data? Guestimate???

    [b]LMAO!![/b] 😉

    Only 6-7 times huh????

    That was one of the funniest posts I have ever read! 😉

  • Simpleton

    GO AWAY WILL YA. Rough math I did last night using most likely flawed data (10 day reported refactored to 365 in early 2007 vs whole year 2006 and my last best guestimate of total popupulation applicable to the respective zones) showed Rio had a murder rate only 6 to 7 times higher per capita than the megolopolis where I live. One shot “news” events unrelated to tourists don’t warrant your blastogram ch.c. Let’s see if e harmoney can do simple algebra and come up with the round numbers for his neck of the woods for comparison.

  • ch.c.

    Brazil continues to be dangerous ……..
    ….for everyone….including Brazilians children as we all know !!!!

    Your violence and crime rate is certainly the best publicity for your …TOURISM sector !

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