Samuel Romã

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At around 6 p.m., four gunmen on two motorcycles shot radio host Romã outside his home in Coronel Sapucaia, in the southwestern state of Mato Grosso do Sul. Police took the journalist to the municipal hospital, where he was pronounced dead on arrival.

Romã, 36, was the owner of Radio Conquista FM, based in the Paraguayan town of Capitán Bado just across the Brazilian border. Romã was an active member of the opposition Democratic Labor Party (PDT) and the host of the one-hour talk show, "A Voz do Povo" (The Voice of the People), on which he often voiced his political views. Known as a harsh critic of the local government, he had been particularly vocal during the year prior to his death.

According to the daily O Progresso, Romã had demanded that police investigate several recent murders in the area. He said he had documents proving that important local figures were involved in organized crime, the daily Correio do Estado reported. Romã had also denounced Eurico Mariano, the mayor of Coronel Sapucaia, for alleged financial irregularities, according to other news accounts.

Initial speculation centered on a number of motives, including Romã's political and journalistic activities, local sources told CPJ.

In June 2006, state prosecutors accused Mariano of being involved in Romã's murder and requested his temporary detention, according to local press reports. A state judge granted their request, but a federal judge revoked the detention and ordered Mariano's release.

On August 10, 2007, the former mayor was convicted of hiring Romã's killers and sentenced to 17 years and nine months in prison, according to the Brazilian press. Judge César de Souza Lima concluded in his verdict, which was reviewed by CPJ, that the former mayor ordered Romã's murder in order to silence his commentary. Mariano can appeal his sentence.

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