Policeman Who Killed Journalist in 1998 Arrested in Brazil

Journalist Manoel Leal de Oliveira Police officer Monzart Castro Brasil, 53, convicted of the murder of a Brazilian journalist, was rearrested by the Brazilian police last February 28. Brazil had been convicted and sentenced in September 2003 for the murder of Manoel Leal de Oliveira, the editor and founder of the daily newspaper "A Região".

The murder took place in 1998 in the state of Bahia, in the country's northeast. A popular jury condemned the officer to 18 years in prison in 2004. However, in December of that same year, Judge Aliomar Silva Brito freed the policeman, after accepting a writ of habeas corpus requesting his liberty pending the outcome of his appeal.

The order for his re-capture was issued by Itabuna District Judge Marco Antônio Santos Bandeira. Brazil was arrested in the morning when arriving to work at the Camaçari police bureau, where he had started three months ago. He was taken to Salvador, Bahia's capital city.

The murder was committed on January, 14, 1998, two weeks after ""A Região" linked the policeman to surveillance of opponents of Fernando Gomes, ex-mayor of the city. The newspaper reported that the policeman had received money for carrying out the surveillance.

Leal de Oliveira was shot six times when he opened his home's gate in Jardim Primavera, a neighborhood in an Itabuna suburb. During the trial, three witnesses confirmed that they saw the policeman leave a car and shoot the journalist.

Two other people were also accused of taking part in the homicide: Marcone Rodrigues Sarmento, a former city council official, and Thomas Iracy Guedes, a common criminal.

Guedes, who was suspected of driving the car in which the murderers rode, was acquitted by the authorities in September 2003. Sarmento is free.



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