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IFJ condemns killing of journalist in Barra do Piraí

(IFJ/IFEX) - 10 February 2012 - The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) today joined the Syndicate of Professional Journalists in Rio (SJPMRJ) in condemning the murder of online journalist Mario Marques Lopez Randolph, who was shot dead yesterday in the city of Barra do Piraí in the state of Rio, Brazil. His companion, Maria Aparecida Guimarães, was also killed, media reports say.

“This is an appalling double murder which must not go unpunished,” said Beth Costa, IFJ General Secretary. “It bears all the hallmarks of a targeted killing and we believe that the murder of our colleague was linked to his professional work.”

According to the SJPMRJ, an IFJ affiliate, Randolph was kidnapped from the home of his companion Aparecida Guimarães, who was also taken. The bodies of the couple were later found with bullet wounds. Randolph was shot in the head.

The SJPMRJ says that Randolph, who was editor of a website called Vassouras na Net, based in the town of Vassouras, and a regular contributor to the Tribuna do Interior newspaper, was a critic of influential figures in the region of Barra do Piraí.

The journalist survived an attempted murder last July when he was shot and injured by unknown attackers, reports say. The IFJ backs the SJPMRJ's call for a thorough and immediate investigation into his murder, warning that failure to combat impunity for crimes targeting the media risks fueling violence against journalists.

“It is crucial that the authorities move swiftly to identify and bring to justice the killers of Randolph and Guimarães,” added Costa. “The only way to deter this kind of mindless violence is to ensure accountability for those who commit it.”
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