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Kidnapped journalist accuses politicians of being behind attack

(ABRAJI/IFEX) - Journalist Gilvan Luiz Pereira, founder and editor of the newspaper "Sem Nome", from Juazeiro do Norte, Ceará (in northeastern Brazil), was kidnapped and tortured by four men on May 20, 2010. He was held by the kidnappers for around 20 minutes, until the car he was in was intercepted by the police. His kidnappers ran away, abandoning the unconscious journalist. Nothing is known of the assailants' identities or whereabouts.

The kidnapping happened around 8:30 p.m. According to the police report, witnesses got the license plate of the vehicle and called the police. The victim was found tied up and injured.

In his newspaper, Pereira publishes articles criticizing the administration of the local mayor, Manuel Raimundo de Santana Neto, a member of the Partido dos Trabalhadores (PT) party, accusing him of administrative irregularities, fraud and overbilling on construction projects.

In an interview with "Portal Imprensa", Pereira said that the mayor and local councilor Roberto Sampaio could be involved in the attack. "I wrote a recent report on the councilor's wife, who was receiving the 'Bolsa Família' (financial help from the federal government for people with low income) without having the profile for that". Pereira said that before the kidnapping he received two threats from people related to the politicians.

The journalist, who needed 46 stitches on the head, said that he does not know if he will make new accusations about the city's administrations for fear of new retaliations.

In a statement, the mayor said he condemns the violence suffered by the journalist. According to the mayor's lawyer, José Carlos Pimentel, the mayor and the councilor are innocent and they have sent a letter to the Secretary of Public Security of the State and to the Minister of Public Security asking for an investigation into the case.

Pimentel also said he plans to sue Pereira for defamation and slander.

The National Association of Newspapers (ANJ) published a statement condemning "the cowardly attack against the editor of the newspaper 'Sem Nome'". The statement says the ANJ expects that the authorities will identify and punish those responsible.

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