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Convicted trafficker alleged to have ordered journalist's murder from inside prison

(RSF/IFEX) - 6 December 2010 - Radio presenter Francisco Gomes de Medeiros' murder on 18 October in the northeastern state of Rio Grande do Norte was carried out on the orders of a jailed drug trafficker, according to a report in the Diário de Natal daily newspaper on 3 December, quoting the local police.

Valdir Souza do Nascimento, who was arrested in 2007 and is now serving a sentence for drug trafficking in Alcaçuz prison, ordered accused hit-man João Francisco "O Dão" dos Santos to shoot Gomes because the journalist's reporting was affecting the criminal activities that Souza was continuing to run from prison, the newspaper's report said. Santos was arrested the day after Gomes' murder.

"The solution of this case in a very encouraging sign for the fight against impunity and the Brazilian authorities are to be commended," Reporters Without Borders said. "Gomes' murder is nonetheless a cruel reminder of the dangers to which journalists are exposed when they dare to cover organized crime. And the fact that a murder was ordered from inside a prison raises serious question about the state of the prison system in certain regions of Brazil."

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