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Journalist's convicted murderer granted partial release for "good behaviour"

(RSF/IFEX) - On 3 November 2008, Rio de Janeiro judicial authorities decided to put convicted murderer Claudino "Xuxa" dos Santos Coelho on a "semi-release" programme for "good behaviour", according to the newspaper "Extra". Xuxa, an alleged drug trafficker, was sentenced in 2005 to 23 years and six months in prison for the June 2002 murder of TV Globo reporter Tim Lopes. As he was arrested in August 2002, he has already completed one third of his sentence. Under the programme, he would be allowed out of prison by day as long as he returns at night. But according to "Extra", he has already violated this requirement.

"We expressed our satisfaction in 2005 when seven suspects were convicted of Lopes' murder, but now we share his family's incomprehension at this concession, which seems completely unjustified given the cruelty of the crime of which this prisoner was convicted," Reporters Without Borders said.

Lopes was investigating sexual exploitation of minors by drug traffickers in the Rio de Janeiro favela of Vila del Cruzeiro in June 2002 when he was kidnapped, tortured and finally hacked to death by members the "Crazy Elias" gang, who burned his body. "Xuxa" and six other gang members were given sentences ranging from 23 to 28 years in prison.

Updates the Lopes case: http://www.ifex.org/en/content/view/full/69658

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