JUNE 16, 2005
Posted: July 12, 2005

Efrém Ribeiro, Jornal Meio Norte

Ribeiro, a reporter with the daily Jornal Meio Norte, based in the city of Teresina, in the northern state of Piauí, said he was attacked and threatened by a local politician.

As Ribeiro was in the hall of the Piauí State Legislative Assembly asking a state legislator about the possibility that the Assembly’s Council of Ethics would conduct an investigation of state legislator Homero Castelo Branco, he said, Castelo Branco grabbed him by the neck and said: “I’ll make you disappear.” When Ribeiro asked if he was being threatened with death, Castelo Branco said: “Yes, I’m threatening you with death.” The legislator also took the reporter’s cell phone, Ribeiro said.

In a June 15 report, Ribeiro broke the news that federal prosecutor Carlos Eduardo de Oliveira Vasconcelos had charged Castelo Branco with fraud, forgery of public documents, and tax violations before the Regional Federal Court (TRF) in Brasília, the capital.

Ribeiro said he chose not to file a report with the police or file a lawsuit against Castelo Branco. He said that the problem was temporary and that he preferred avoiding a fight and maintaining a potential source. Jornal Meio Norte published a report of the incident.