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Political reporter murdered, motive unclear

(Abraji/IFEX) - Political reporter Auro Ida was murdered on the night of 21 July 2011, while leaving his girlfriend's home in the city of Cuiabá, Mato Grosso, in midwestern Brazil. Witnesses say that a man on a bicycle approached the couple, told the woman to get out of the car and shot the journalist before fleeing the scene.

Bianca Nayara Correa de Souza, Ida's nineteen-year-old girlfriend, told the news portal 24 Horas News that she could not see the face of the shooter because there was not enough light. "I didn't see a bike. I could make out that it was a black man, who was holding a gun. He told me to get out of the car, and as I was entering my house he started shooting and he killed my boyfriend," she stated.

There are indications that this was a crime of passion, as nothing was taken from the car and the journalist's girlfriend had broken off her marriage three months prior to the incident. Correa de Souza affirmed that she is going to ask for police protection for her and her family.

Nevertheless, state representative José Riva revealed in an interview with the Midianews website that Ida had said a few times that he was being threatened due to his journalistic investigations. Alline Marques, Ida's work colleague at the Olhar Direto website, said that the journalist never asked for protection. She found out about the threats from the interview with Riva, but does not discard the possibility that Ida was targeted for his journalistic work. "He did carry out a lot of investigations," she noted.

There were no developments in the investigation by 22 July, because of a Civil Police strike in the state of Mato Grosso. As a result, the journalists' trade union (Sindjor) and the OAB (national lawyers' organization) called on the federal police to intervene.

Sindjor's president, Téo Menezes, explained on the OAB/Mato Grosso website why the crime may have been politically motivated. "There are reports that Auro Ida had uncovered important information about irregular payments made by the government. We cannot confirm this because Auro Ida was very discrete in his journalistic investigations, but I am sure that with the help of OAB/MT we will solve this case," Menezes said.

Ida had lived in Mato Grosso for 28 years, most recently having worked as a columnist for the Olhar Direto website.
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