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Four new arrests in investigation into abduction of newspaper employees

(RSF/IFEX) - Reporters Without Borders welcomes the progress being made in the investigation into the abduction and torture of two journalists employed by the regional "O Dia" newspaper and their driver in the Rio de Janeiro shanty town of Batan on 14 May 2008.

On 11 December, three military police officers wanted in connection with the case - Fabio Goncalves Soares (a.k.a "Fabinho Catiri"), Marcos Antonio Alves da Silva (a.k.a "Marcos do Bope") and André Luiz de Mattos (a.k.a "Cocada") - were arrested in a major operation in Rio involving more than 80 government employees. A fourth man identified as Nilson Bueno (a.k.a "Nilson Faustão") was also arrested.

Items seized during the operation included equipment belonging to an elite Rio de Janeiro state military police unit called the BOPE. The four detainees are to be charged with "forming a militia." Four other members of the military police are still being sought.

The "O Dia" employees were tortured for seven hours after being kidnapped by a militia based in Batan, where the journalists had been preparing a report for the previous two weeks. The case caused an outcry in Brazil, especially as police officers were allegedly involved in the militia.

The two alleged bosses of the militia - civilian police inspector Odinei Fernando da Silva (a.k.a "Dinei" and "Zero Um") and Davi Liberato de Araújo (a.k.a "Zero Dois") - were arrested in June.

"We welcome the great progress being made towards solving this case and we hope a trial will soon be held that sheds light on the circumstances of this abduction and identifies all those responsible," Reporters Without Borders said. "This investigation must be an example in combating impunity. It nonetheless confirms the existence of serious abuses within police units that will need far-reaching measures."

Updates the "O Dia" case:

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