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Prime suspect in journalists' torture case surrenders to police

(RSF/IFEX) - Odnei Fernando da Silva, the civilian police inspector who is accused of heading the militia that kidnapped and tortured two "O Dia" journalists and their driver in Rio de Janeiro's Batan favela on 14 May 2008, surrendered to the authorities on 16 June.

Also known as "01", "Dinei" and "Águia", Da Silva went with his lawyer to the headquarters of the Department for Repression of Criminal Actions and Special Investigations (DRACO) to give himself up. He had been on the run since 4 June, when a warrant for his arrest was issued.

In an initial statement, Da Silva denied any involvement in the abduction and torture of the newspaper's three employees, claiming that he was at a party in the Rio de Janeiro neighbourhood of Bangu at the time. Asked about his relationship with the gang's alleged No. 2, Davi Liberato de Araújo, he said he had known him since childhood but no longer kept his company.

Da Silva was taken to a special detention centre for policemen inside the Gericinó prison complex.

Reporters Without Borders hails this latest progress in the investigation and hopes that the police will quickly establish exactly who was responsible for the barbaric treatment inflicted on "O Dia"'s employees.

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