Prosecutor seeks charges against ex-president’s son in Cardoso murder

New York, May 11, 2006—A local prosecutor in Mozambique has taken a preliminary step toward indicting a son of former President Joaquim Chissano in the 2000 murder of investigative journalist Carlos Cardoso, Mozambique’s official news agency, AIM, reported today.

The prosecutor filed what is known as a charge sheet with the Maputo City Court about two weeks ago, AIM reported today. A judge will determine whether there is sufficient evidence to proceed against Nyimpine Chissano, the news agency said. AIM reported that the charge sheet accuses the younger Chissano of being involved in plotting the murder.

Chissano has denied involvement.

Attorney General Joaquim Madeira, the country’s top prosecutor, told the Committee to Protect Journalists today that he had been informed of the Maputo city prosecutor’s action but could not provide details because the case is not under his jurisdiction. Numerous attempts by CPJ to locate the city prosecutor for comment were unsuccessful.

Six men were convicted in January 2003 of carrying out Cardoso’s assassination, and they are currently serving lengthy prison terms. During their trial, several of the defendants alleged that Chissano ordered the murder. Police began an investigation of Chissano in 2003, but there had been no public developments until now. The murder occurred while Cardoso was investigating a 1996 corruption scandal involving the state-controlled Commercial Bank of Mozambique.

“We welcome any development that would shed light on our colleague Carlos Cardoso’s brutal assassination,” said Ann Cooper, executive director of CPJ. “We hope that a full, impartial investigation will ensure that all those responsible for the murder are brought to justice.”

Cardoso founded the press organization Mediacoop in 1992, and later launched the fax newsletter, Metical, of which he was editor at the time of his death. For more information on the Cardoso case, see CPJ’s archive of special coverage: