Cardoso killer arrested in Canada after escape from prison

For background, read CPJ’s special report, “The Case of Carlos Cardoso”

New York, June 3, 2004—Anibal Antonio dos Santos Junior, the convicted murderer of Mozambican journalist Carlos Cardoso was arrested with the help of Interpol officials at Toronto’s Pearson International Airport on May 25, according to international press reports.

Dos Santos, known as Anibalzhino, escaped from a Mozambican prison on May 9. He was serving a 28-year sentence for leading the death squad that murdered Cardoso in November 2000. Cardoso was the country’s leading investigative reporter and published Metical, a daily fax newsletter, at the time of his death.

The office of Mozambique’s attorney general said that Anibalzhino escaped with help from the police, and that an investigation is under way, according to Reuters news agency.

Mozambican authorities are working to have Anibalzhino extradited from Canada, but the two countries have no extradition treaty. Since Anibalzhino’s capture, Canadian press reports have speculated that the fugitive has applied for asylum. Canadian officials have refused to comment on Anibalzhino’s status or to confirm whether he is seeking asylum, said Colin Freeze of Toronto’s Globe and Mail.

This is the second time Anibalzhino has escaped from a Mozambican prison. He fled from pretrial detention in September 2002 and was convicted of the murder in absentia. He was captured in South Africa in January 2003 and extradited to Mozambique.