Brazil Charges 3 Men Over Killings of British Journalist and Indigenous Expert

CNN Newsource
By CNN Newsource
July 24, 2022Americas
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Brazil Charges 3 Men Over Killings of British Journalist and Indigenous Expert
A demonstrator holds a banner that shows images of freelance British journalist Dom Phillips (L) and indigenous activist Bruno Pereira, during a protest to demand justice for their murders in Brasilia, Brazil, on June 19, 2022. (Andressa Anholete/Getty Images)

Authorities in Brazil have charged three men with “aggravated double homicide and concealment of a corpse” following the disappearance last month of British journalist Dom Philips and Brazilian indigenous expert Bruno Pereira.

Amarildo da Cosa Oliveira, Oseney da Costa de Oliveira, and Jefferson da Silva Lima were processed as defendants for the crimes committed in the Javari Valley, according to a statement released by the federal prosecutor’s office Friday.

Veteran journalist Phillips and indigenous expert Pereira vanished on June 5 during a trip to the far western part of Amazonas state.

A federal court judge in Amazonas lifted the confidentiality surrounding the case’s details on Thursday.

Amarildo and Jefferson allegedly confessed to the crime in June and Amarildo led authorities to the bodies. However, Oseney’s participation was established through witness statements, according to the federal prosecutor’s office.

Dom Phillips
British journalist Dom Phillips, who went missing while reporting in a remote and lawless part of the Amazon rainforest near the border with Peru, in Brazil, in a handout photo taken in December 2009 and obtained by Reuters on June 7, 2022. (Paul Sherwood/Handout via Reuters)

“There were already records of disagreements between Bruno and Amarildo over illegal fishing in the indigenous territory,” the statement said.

“What motivated the murders was the fact that Bruno had asked Dom to photograph the boat of the accused,” it alleged.

Pereira was implied to have been the target of the crime, while Philips “was murdered just for being with Bruno,” in order “to ensure impunity for the previous crime,” the statement said.

Phillips and Pereira were conducting research for a book project on conservation efforts in the region, which authorities have described as “complicated” and “dangerous,” and known to harbor illegal miners, loggers, and international drug dealers.

They were last seen in the Sao Rafael community, a two-hour boat ride from Atalaia do Norte city, after accompanying an indigenous patrol in the Itaquaí river organized to prevent invasions from illegal fisherman and hunters on the Javari Valley Indigenous Land.

The CNN Wire contributed to this report.

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