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Journalist who covered corruption murdered in Brazil

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The body of Brazilian journalist Mario Randolfo Marques Lopes was found on Thursday. (Facebook)

New York, February 10, 2012--The body of Brazilian journalist Mario Randolfo Marques Lopes was found on Thursday in the city of Barra do Piraí in Rio de Janeiro state, according to news reports. Randolfo reported on local corruption and had survived at least one attempt on his life in recent years, news reports said.

Randolfo, 50, the editor-in-chief of the news website Vassouras na Net, was abducted from his home on Wednesday night along with his companion, Maria Aparecida Guimarães, according to news reports. Both were shot to death, local police told journalists. Randolfo had frequently accused local officials of corruption in articles on his website, according to news reports. His most recent article on his website accused local judges and courts of being corrupt and too powerful, CPJ research shows.

The journalist was also attacked by armed men last year, according to news reports. In July, an unidentified gunman entered the Vassouras na Net newsroom, in the city of Vassouras, and shot Randolfo five times in the head, which left him in a coma for three days, the journalist reported. He survived and, for his safety, decided to move to Barra do Piraí but did not stop working on his website, according to news reports.

"We offer our condolences to family and friends of Mario Randolfo Marques Lopes and Maria Aparecida Guimarães," said Carlos Lauría, CPJ's senior Americas program coordinator. "Brazilian authorities must thoroughly investigate this crime and bring the perpetrators to justice."

News accounts reported police officers as saying that the journalist had many enemies. Local official José Mário Salomão de Omena told reporters, "He created such a large volume of enemies that it is even difficult to know where to start," according to news reports.

CPJ documented a rise in lethal violence in Brazil in 2011. Two journalists were killed in Brazil last year in direct relation to their journalism, and four others were killed in unclear circumstances, CPJ research shows.

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