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Reporter attacked by late politician's sons

(ABRAJI/IFEX) - Reporter Rafael Dias was assaulted on the night of 28 September 2009 at the entrance of the newspaper "Diário de Pernambuco", where he works, in Recife city. The assailants were two men who have identified themselves as councilman Luiz Vidal's sons, who died on 26 September. Rafael was punched, resulting in bleeding and bruises to his mouth and a broken tooth.

The Vidal family has voiced discontent with a report published by the "Diário de Pernambuco" prior to Vidal's burial. They claimed that the report was "irresponsible" in revealing the possible reason for the politician's death.

Dias disagrees and believes that the attack cannot be justified. "Even if there was a journalistic mistake, nothing justifies a physical aggression. It was a cowardly action not only against a professional, but also against freedom of expression and press freedom", he said.

Since the attack, Dias has been on medical leave and has been escorted by the newspaper's security guards. "I am worried about my safety, because the two assailants have threatened me since the assault and they know where I work," said Dias.

The journalist has lodged a complaint and an inquiry was opened at the Santo Amaro Police Office in Recife. Dias has also undergone tests at the IML (Medical Legal Institute) and the results will be available within ten days.

The case will be investigated by police station Distrito da Boa Vista. "I am also studying the possibility of filing a legal action for moral damages," says Dias.

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