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Grenade thrown at "Correio Popular" headquarters following publication of report about kidnapper; police threaten to arrest journalists to stop them from reporting on traffic accident

(IPYS/IFEX) - On 21 January 2009, unidentified individuals threw a grenade at the headquarters of the newspaper "Correio Popular", in the town of Campinas, State of Sao Paulo. The grenade did not explode or cause any damage.

According to chief of police Eduardo Simões, the paper's security camera recorded three suspects, but thus far they have not been identified. The newspaper's receptionist told the police that after the incident she received an anonymous phone call announcing more attacks.

"Correio Popular" belongs to the Anhanguera de Comunicación media network (which includes "Notícias Já", "Diario do Povo", the magazine "Metrópole" and the website Cosmo Online).

One of the police's hypotheses is that the attempt could be related to a report about one of the leaders of the criminal organization Primero Comando da Capital (PCC), kidnapper Wanderson Nilton de Paula Lima, (a.k.a.) "Andinho", who is sentenced to 500 years in prison. The report, published in the paper, was an account of his crimes and a chronicle of his wedding that took place inside the prison.

The General Investigations Police Department (Comisaría de Investigaciones Generales) is investigating the case.

In a separate incident, on 24 January "Diario do Nordeste" and TV Jangadeiro's news teams were threatened by a group of police officers who were trying to cover up a traffic accident caused by Military Police Captain Francisco Ednei Pereira dos Santos, in the town of Fortaleza, northeastern Brazil.

The captain crashed his car against a truck. After the accident he assaulted the truck's driver so that he would not report on the incident and called over other police officers for support.

The reporters arrived at the place of the accident, but the policemen attempted to snatch their cameras and threatened to arrest them. One of the officers was identified as sergeant J. Lopes.

The Public Security and Social Defense Secretariat (Secretaría de Seguridad Pública y Defensa Social) condemned the policemen's attitudes and stated that they will be investigated.

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