Valério Luiz de Oliveira

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An unidentified gunman on a motorcycle shot Oliveira, 49, at least four times outside his offices at Radio Jornal, where he hosted a sports program, news reports said.

Oliveira was known for his critical commentary, particularly regarding the management of the local soccer team Atlético Goianiense, according to news reports. Before his death, he had been banned entry from the premises of the team’s headquarters, news reports said.

Manoel de Oliveira, a well-known sports commentator and the journalist’s father, said he believed his son’s death was related to his reporting and that he had "lost his son because of football," the TV station Globo reported. Lorena Nascimento de Oliveira, the journalist’s wife, said he had told her he was concerned by problems he had had with people involved with the sport, the Globo report said. She did not offer further details.

The management of the Atlético Goianiense team put out a statement condemning the murder and calling for a full investigation. "Luiz was known for his commentary, which at times angered some sectors of the club, but on the other hand, his strong opinions also informed the club’s decision-making and helped Atlético grow," the statement said.

Adriana Ribeiro de Barros, head of the state’s homicide unit, noted the journalist’s controversial opinions and said they would be investigating the case.

The Goiás state public prosecutor charged five men for involvement in Oliveira’s murder in February 2013, including two military police officers and a former vice president of Atlético Goianiense, according to news reports. In the intervening years, the trial was repeatedly postponed as one defendant disavowed his confession, another fled to Europe to escape prosecution, and the trial faced procedural delays, according to a report by the Brazilian Association for Investigative Journalism (ABRAJI) and news reports.

In December 2019, Judge Jesseir Coelho de Alcântara announced he was withdrawing from the trial of the suspected perpetrators of Oliveira’s killing, alleging he could not proceed because the court lacked the necessary resources for the trial, as CPJ reported.

In February 2020, the new judge assigned to the case set a trial date of June 23, according to news reports. In June, the Goiás Court of Justice suspended the trial following a recommendation by the National Justice Council to postpone trials by jury in Brazil due to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to news reports

On March 14, 2022, the Goiás Court of Justice postponed the trial until May 2 because the lawyer for Maurício Sampaio, Atlético Goianiense’s former vice-president and the alleged mastermind of the killing, resigned a few days before the trial start date, according to news reports, a statement from local press freedom groups, and the journalist’s son, Valério Luiz Filho, who spoke to CPJ by phone. 

“The ongoing impunity in this case is a license to kill journalists,” Oliveira’s son told CPJ.

All five suspects allegedly involved in Oliveira’s murder remain at liberty while awaiting trial, according to news reports and Valério Luiz Filho.