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Editor assaulted in Rondônia state

(ABRAJI/IFEX) - Afonso Locks, the editor of the "Correio de Notícias" newspaper in the state of Rondônia, northern Brazil, was chased and assaulted in front of the Cidade FM radio station in Cerejeiras, 730 km southeast of the state capital, Porto Velho. Among those allegedly involved were Jacó Eugênio de Souza and Laudicéia de Souza, the son and daughter of former mayor José Eugênio Zigue de Souza. Laudicéia de Souza is a city councillor in Cerejeiras.

According to Locks, the assault was motivated by an article published in his column that criticised the support given by José Eugênio de Souza to Jean Carlos Schefer Oliveira's candidacy for the position of state representative.

Jean de Oliveira is the son of Carlão de Oliveira, the former president of the state legislature who was investigated and arrested for involvement in misappropriation of public resources and fraudulent contracts during the Dominó Operation undertaken by the Federal Police in 2006. Jean de Oliveira would replace his father as a state deputy.

On the night of the attack, Locks says he was followed by two cars to the radio Cidade FM building, where he stopped to leave an issue of the newspaper. According to the journalist, at that point Jacó de Souza stepped down from one of the vehicles and called him over to talk. "He asked me to stop publishing things against his candidate and about his family," Locks said. The journalist said he informed the former mayor's son that he could go to court if the information published in the newspaper was not true. After that, according to Locks, Jacó de Souza issued a threat against his children and attacked him.

The police have started an investigation against Jacó de Souza and his sister Laudicéia for assault, intimidation, violating freedom of expression and issuing threats.

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