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Newspaper editor's convicted murderer is behind bars again

(RSF/IFEX) - Reporters Without Borders is relieved to learn that Anibal Dos Santos Junior, also known as Anibalzinho, the fugitive killer of investigative journalist Carlos Cardoso, has been recaptured in South Africa. On 25 August 2009, Mozambican police travelled to Pretoria to bring Dos Santos back to finish serving a 30-year sentence for Cardoso's November 2000 murder.

Dos Santos has escaped three times since he was first arrested for Cardoso's murder. His most recent escape was from a high-security prison in Maputo on 7 December 2008. He was rearrested on 21 August in Johannesburg.

"We are pleased that the Mozambican police have finally been able to recapture this killer in a joint operation with Interpol," Reporters Without Borders said. "It is essential that he should now serve his entire sentence so that justice can be done. We call on the authorities to guard him with more care from now on as this was far from being his first escape."

After being arrested by South African police at his new home in Johannesburg at around 7 p.m. (local time) on 21 August, Dos Santos was taken to a high security prison in Pretoria. He remained there until the Mozambican police arrived on 25 August in Pretoria to escort him back to the high security prison in Maputo.

Dos Santos spent more than nine months on the run. With the help of one or possibly more guards, he escaped from his cell on the morning of 7 December 2008 and got away with two other detainees. Mozambican police spokesman Pedro Cossa said Dos Santos had been living under the alias of Mauricio Alexandre Mula in South Africa.

After his first escape in September 2002, Dos Santos was recaptured in Pretoria five months later. After escaping again on 10 May 2004, he was arrested by Interpol on his arrival at Toronto airport. He was convicted on 20 January 2006 of heading the hit squad that killed Cardoso, the editor of the newspaper "Metical".

Cardoso was gunned down on 22 November 2000 on Avenue Martires de Machava in Maputo. He had just left his office in his car, with his driver, when two men blocked their way and opened fire. Cardoso was hit in the head and died instantly. His driver was seriously injured.

Prior to his death, Cardoso had been probing the country's biggest financial scandal since independence - the embezzlement of a sum equivalent to 14 million euros from the privatisation of Mozambique's Banco Commercial. He had named three very influential businessmen in his reports: the Satar brothers and Vicente Ramaya.

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