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Photojournalist assaulted and threatened while reporting on fraud investigation

(Abraji/IFEX) - 7 April 2011 - Photojournalist Victor Soares was attacked in the Brazilian Federal Capital, Brasília, on 30 March 2011, while he was taking pictures of the Federal Police operation "Sol Dourado" (Golden Sun). The operation investigates fraud in Manaus (the main city in the Amazon region).

Soares was on a freelance assignment for the CBN Manaus radio station when he was attacked by one of the suspects, lawyer Afonso Luciano Gomes Amâncio, and his son. The photographer reports that the father and son destroyed his camera and threatened to throw him out the window.

Federal Police officers stepped in to put an end to the assault, but were unable to arrest both of the assailants. The photographer was escorted to the 1st Police Department of the Federal District, where he filed a complaint about the incident.

The local chief of police, Watson Warmling, said the police have sent the victim's photographic equipment for analysis and the case is being handled by the 3rd Police Department of the Federal District. However, Chief Onofre José de Morais, of the 3rd Police Department, claims to have not received the case file because of a strike launched by Federal District police on 31 March. Warmling said that despite the strike the case "will be properly investigated."

According to Soares, the threats continued even after the complaint was registered with the police, and they were also addressed to other journalists. "Today I am a statistic of violence, tomorrow I can be a death statistic," the worried journalist said.

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