Brazilian mayor arrested and accused of involvement in 2016 death of journalist

A Brazilian mayor in the state of Minas Gerais has been arrested and accused of being involved in the 2016 death of journalist Maurício Campos Rosa.

Roseli Ferreira Pimental was detained by authorities on Sept. 7, according to G1.

The Civil Police served a warrant of preventive detention against the mayor, who was found at home, according to Estado de Minas. In addition to Pimentel, three other suspects were arrested: David Santos Lima (known as Nego), Alessandro de Oliveira Souza (commonly known as Leleca) and Gustavo Sérgio Soares Silva (or Gustavim). Everyone will testify at the Department of Investigations for Homicides and Personal Protection (DHPP for its acronym in Portuguese).

Rosa, 64, owned the newspaper O Grito and was investigating an alleged corruption case involving city councilors and a garbage collection cooperative. He was hit by five shots as he left a house in the direction of a car that was identified with the logo of the newspaper. The biweekly newspaper in the region has been distributed free of charge for more than 20 years, according to Estado de Minas.

His murder was the fourth of a journalist in Brazil in 2016. The country ranked fourth last year in the ranking of the deadliest nations for the profession in a list compiled by Reporters Without Borders.

Authorities began to investigate the mayor for potential involvement in the murder in April 2017, according to Comunique-se. The case is being kept secret by the Court of Justice of Minas Gerais. At the time, the politician said she was innocent. "I receive with surprise and indignation the news that I was being investigated in criminal proceedings. The surprise and indignation of those who know they are innocent," she said in a statement.

Pimentel had already been revoked from office five times in separate cases and remained in office through an injunction, according to G1. She and her deputy mayor, Fernando César de Almeida Nunes Resende, are accused of illegally raising and spending money during the election campaign. The mayor had also been convicted of sending messages to school principals and teachers asking to influence parents of students for the election, according to O Globo.

Note from the editor: This story was originally published by the Knight Center’s blog Journalism in the Americas, the predecessor of LatAm Journalism Review.

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