The Case of Carlos Cardoso
Below is an update of court proceedings, currently under way in Mozambique, in the murder case of journalist Carlos Cardoso, who was killed on November 22, 2000. The proceedings are updated periodically as events occur.
Background of Cardoso case
Report on murder investigation
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.
FUGITIVE IN CARDOSO MURDER RETURNED TO MOZAMBIQUE
New York, January 24, 2005–A fugitive in the murder of investigative reporter Carlos Cardoso has been returned to Mozambique, where he faces a new trial in the November 2000 slaying. The Committee to Protect Journalists today called for the prompt prosecution and secure detention of Anibal Antonio dos Santos Junior, who has escaped from custody twice.
Dos Santos, better known as Anibalzinho, was deported from Canada, where his petition for refugee status was turned down in December 2004. He arrived in Mozambique on Saturday, and was being held at police headquarters in the capital, Maputo, according to the state-run AIM news agency and local sources.
Anibalzinho escaped from a high-security prison in Maputo in May 2004 but was captured later that month at Toronto’s Pearson International Airport. While his refugee petition was pending, Mozambican authorities requested Anibalzinho’s extradition from Canada. The two countries have no extradition treaty, slowing the process of returning the suspect.
It was not the first time Anibalzinho had escaped custody. After fleeing pretrial detention in September 2002, he was convicted in absentia of murder and sentenced to 28 years in prison. He was captured in South Africa in January 2003 and extradited to Mozambique, where he was serving his term until his second escape.
In December 2004, Mozambique’s Supreme Court ruled that Anibalzinho was entitled to a retrial. The court ruled that a defendant who is convicted in absentia and sentenced to more than two years–including an escapee–is entitled to a new trial when he re-emerges. No date has been set for the retrial, according to local sources. Anibalzinho’s five codefendants were convicted.
“CPJ welcomes the news that Anibalzinho has been returned to jail in Mozambique,” said Ann Cooper, executive director of CPJ. “We urge Mozambican authorities to ensure that Anibalzinho remains in secure custody, and that his retrial is impartial and transparent.”
Cardoso was Mozambique’s leading investigative journalist at the time of his death, and was covering a 1996 corruption scandal involving the state-controlled Commercial Bank of Mozambique.
During their trial, several of those accused of involvement in Cardoso’s murder said that Nyimpine Chissano, a son of then-president Joaquim Chissano, had ordered the assassination. A separate investigation into Nyimpine’s involvement was launched in January 2003, but no developments have been publicly announced. Nyimpine has categorically denied the charges.
CARDOSO KILLER ARRESTED IN CANADA AFTER ESCAPE FROM PRISON
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 police at Toronto’s Pearson International Airport on May 25, according to international press reports.
Dos Santos, known as Anibalzinho, 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 Anibalzinho escaped with help from the police, and that an investigation is under way, according to Reuters news agency.
Mozambican authorities are working to have Anibalzinho extradited from Canada, but the two countries have no extradition treaty. Since Anibalzinho’s capture, Canadian press reports have speculated that the fugitive has applied for asylum. Canadian officials have refused to comment on Anibalzinho’s status or to confirm whether he is seeking asylum, said Colin Freeze of Toronto’s Globe and Mail.
This is the second time Anibalzinho 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.
SUSPECTS IN CARDOSO TRIAL SENTENCED TO LENGTHY PRISON TERMS
New York, January 31, 2003--Six men accused of killing Mozambican journalist Carlos Cardoso were convicted today and sentenced to lengthy prison terms, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists’ (CPJ) representative at the trial in Mozambique’s capital, Maputo.
Meanwhile, fugitive suspect Anibal dos Santos Junior, commonly known as Anibalzinho, who escaped from pretrial detention, was captured yesterday in South Africa and extradited to Mozambique, Interpol-South Africa announced.
Anibalzinho was tried in absentia for leading the death squad that murdered Cardoso in November 2000 and was sentenced to 28 years and six months in jail. The other five suspects were sentenced to at least 23 years in jail each.
“There is a sense here that this ruling is more than expected,” said South African journalist Phillip Van Niekerk, who represented CPJ at the verdict announcement. “People are glad because the sentences are very harsh.”
According to Van Niekerk, Judge Augusto Paulino has vowed to push for a thorough investigation of President Joaquim Chissano’s son Nyimpine Chissano, who has been accused by most suspects of ordering Cardoso’s murder.
“Now people here seem to be waiting to see how much further the judicial system can be stretched to take on the powerful,” said Van Niekerk. “They are also asking if the manner and timing of the fugitive suspect Anibalzinho’s arrest was not a cover-up to keep him from testifying in court. A serious investigation is urgently called for.”
Prison guards have said they unlawfully released Anibalzinho in September 2002 after receiving “orders from above.”
The verdict comes more than two months after the trial opened in a maximum-security prison outside Maputo.
CPJ REPRESENTATIVE TO ATTEND VERDICT ANNOUNCEMENT IN CARDOSO TRIAL
New York, January 30, 2003–A verdict in the trial of six men accused of killing Mozambican investigative reporter Carlos Cardoso is expected tomorrow. South African journalist Phillip Van Niekerk will represent the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) on the final day of the trial.
Van Niekerk, a former editor of the Johannesburg Mail & Guardian and a staff writer at the Washington-based International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, has frequently reported from Mozambique, where he befriended Cardoso in the early 1990s.
Van Niekerk was part of a CPJ delegation that visited the capital, Maputo, in June 2001 to learn more about the state’s investigation into the Cardoso murder. Cardoso was gunned down on November 22, 2000.
Mozambican state prosecutors contend he was killed for aggressively covering a 1996 banking fraud at the government-controlled Commercial Bank of Mozambique in his now defunct business daily, Metical.
Six men, arrested in March 2001, are standing trial for conspiring to murder Cardoso. One of them escaped from Maputo’s maximum-security prison in September 2002 after prison guards said they received “orders from above.” He is being tried in absentia.
Most of the remaining five have confessed their part in the assassination and have accused Nyimpine Chissano, a son of President Joaquim Chissano, of ordering the killing. Chissano has denied any involvement.
Law enforcement officials recently announced that a separate case file was opened listing Chissano as a suspect.
New York, January 23, 2002–The verdict in the trial of six men accused of killing Mozambican journalist Carlos Cardoso will be announced on January 31, said sources in Mozambique’s capital, Maputo.
Meanwhile, according to the state-owned AIM news service, law enforcement authorities recently opened a separate case file on the murder, in which Nyimpine Chissano, a son of Mozambican president Joaquim Chissano, is considered a prime suspect.
Chief prosecutor Mourao Baluce argued in his closing statement that the months-long public trial had proven the six defendants guilty of the November 2000 murder. He asked Judge Augusto Paulino to impose the maximum sentence of 24 years without parole.
According to Baluce, plans to assassinate Cardoso were hatched during several meetings held in a Maputo hotel room beginning in July 2000. All six men on trial took part in one or more of those meetings, he said. Baluce argued that the six conspired to kill Cardoso because of his aggressive coverage of a 1996 banking scandal in which US$14 million was siphoned from the state-controlled Commercial Bank of Mozambique (BCM).
Some observers at the trial have expressed doubts about the prosecutor’s argument, which they say was weakened by the fact that key prosecution witness, Osvaldo Muianga, who claims to have witnessed the meetings, changed his story several times. Baluce, however, said that Muianga withdrew earlier testimony for fear of reprisals from some of the defendants or their relatives. The 1996 banking fraud was masterminded by Momade Assife Ayob Satar, his brother Ayob, and Vincente Ramaya, then manager of a BCM branch in Maputo.
All three men are now on trial for Cardoso’s murder. Also on trial are two men from Maputo’s underworld, who have confessed their role in the killing. Another suspected hired gunman, arrested in March 2001, escaped from the capital’s top security jail in September 2002 and is being tried in absentia.
In their final statements, some defense lawyers argued for their clients’ acquittal while others pleaded with the justice system to show clemency in light of “mitigating circumstances,” refering to widespread suspicions that the accused are scapegoats for Nyimpine Chissano, a son of Mozambican president Joaquim Chissano, who has been accused of ordering the November 2000 murder. The suspects have presented in court copies of checks worth US$50,000 signed by Nyimpine Chissano, allegedly to pay for the job.
The president’s son has denied any involvement. Despite an official travel ban, AIM news service reported that Nyimpine Chissano was seen in Portugal’s capital, Lisbon, in late December. AIM also quoted a Mozambican citizen as saying that he recognized Nyimpine on the flight back to Maputo.
Court officials have admitted that Nyimpine Chissano’s diplomatic passport, which they had seized in early December, was returned to him “on higher orders.”
New York, December 19, 2002–Anibal dos Santos Junior, commonly known as Anibalzinho, a fugitive suspect in the murder case of Mozambican journalist Carlos Cardoso, has sent videotaped testimony to the Maputo City Court. Augusto Paulino, the trial judge, declined to reveal its content.
Law enforcement officials in the capital, Maputo, acknowledged receiving the videotape early this week from Teresinha Mendonca, Anibalzinho’s mother, but they also declined to comment on its content. According Mendonca, her son is hiding in London.
Anibalzinho was arrested in March 2001, along with five other suspects. He was illegally released from Maputo’s maximum-security prison three months ago after prison guards received “orders from above” to do so. He is being tried in absentia for allegedly leading the group of hitmen that fatally shot Cardoso on November 22, 2000.
Copies of Anibalzinho’s tape are circulating in the capital, said several Mozambican journalists. According to state news agency AIM, Anibalzinho is said to insist that two other men on trial, Momade Abdul Satar and his brother Ayob, are the actual masterminds of the murder, steering suspicions away from Nyimpine Chissano, a son of President Joaquim Chissano, whom most of the defendants have accused of commissioning Cardoso’s killing.
Anibalzinho also claims on the tape that one of the suspects, former bank manager Vicente Ramaya, is innocent, and according to AIM, Anibalzinho apologizes to the Cardoso family “for everything that has happened.”
Meanwhile, the court will again question Nyimpine Chissano “before Christmas,” reported the independent MediaFax. The paper said that in addition to Chissano, law enforcement authorities would also query Octavio Muthemba, a former industry minister and Nyimpine’s business partner.
New York, December 16, 2002–A group of police officers who admitted to helping in fugitive Anibal dos Santos Junior escape from prison, said they were acting “on orders from above,” reported the private weekly Savana.
Dos Santos Junior (commonly known as Anibalzinho) is a suspect in the November 22, 2000, murder of Mozabican journalist Carlos Cardoso. On September 1 2002, two months before the start of the murder trial, Anibalzinho escaped from his cell at a maximum-security jail in Mozambique’s capital, Maputo.
According to Savana‘s latest edition, an official at the Information and Research Department of the Interior Ministry has identified the police officers as members of the Presidential Guard, an elite unit known as the Red Berets.
News reports at the time of Anibalzinho’s escape had alleged that the suspected killer might have been slain in his cell, where a crew from the state-operated Mozambique Television later found traces of blood. But at the trial, Anibalzinho’s mother said that her son was staying with relatives in London.
A week after the escape, a Maputo police chief said that Anibalzinho was alive and well, arousing suspicions that law enforcement knew the fugitive’s whereabouts and might be involved in his escape.
Anibalzinho is being tried in absentia for his alleged part in the Cardoso murder. Five other suspects remain in government custody since their arrests in March 2001 and have been appearing in court since the start of the trial on November 18.
Meanwhile, several witnesses claim to have received anonymous death threats. The Maputo home of the judge in this case, Augustino Paulino, has been under police surveillance since two men were spotted there watching the judge and his family.
New York, December 13, 2002–A South African ballistics expert testified yesterday that the people who carried out the November 22, 2000, assassination of journalist Carlos Cardoso must have experience in handling firearms, particularly AK-47’s.
Although suspects Manuel Fernandes and Carlos Rashid Cassamo have admitted to taking part in Cardoso murder, they deny ever using an AK-47 prior to the slaying, which they both claim was commissioned by Nyimpine Chissano, a son of President Joaquim Chissano.
Noting that three of the bullet holes in Cardoso’s car appeared very close together, Superintendent T.J. Brits, a forensic expert in the ballistics unit of the South African Police Department told the court, “The AK-47 is a powerful rifle. It’s not easy, on the first time of using it, to fire three shots like that.” But Brits also said that the AK-47 might have been on semiautomatic setting, firing one shot at a time, which would allow any inexperienced user to control the weapon’s bursts.
An official forensic probe of Cardoso’s car, in which five spent cartridges and three fragments of AK-47 bullets were found, took place in July 2001, eight months after the murder. According to Brits, close examination of the spent cartridges suggests that all the shots were fired from a single weapon. There is no evidence that an additional gun was used, said Brits.
New York, December 6, 2002–Businessman Momade Assife Abdul Satar today reiterated his allegations that Nyimpine Chissano, the eldest son of Mozambican president Joaquim Chissano, had ordered the assassination of journalist Carlos Cardoso.
A week ago, Satar had presented copies of four checks signed by Nyimpine Chissano as evidence that Nyimpine had ordered Cardoso’s murder.
Testifying yesterday, Nyimpine dismissed Satar’s allegations, insisting that he had signed the checks as collateral in a loan Satar had made to a business partner.
Today in court, Satar challenged Nyimpine’s testimony, saying that the president’s son had borrowed US$50,000 from him in late 2000, giving him four checks as collateral. Satar then added that Nyimpine also instructed him to give the money to Anibal dos Santos Junior (commonly known as Anibalzinho).
Fugitive Anibalzinho is accused of leading the death squad that killed Cardoso on November 22, 2000.
“I never had any business dealings with Satar,” said Nyimpine, a statement that prompted Satar to shout, “This man is a liar. He’s deceiving the court.”
The court also asked confessed killer Carlitos Rashid Cassamo whether he had ever met Nyimpine Chissano prior to the Cardoso murder.
“That’s the boss,” Rashid replied. “I always had to stay hidden in the car. But I saw him from there.”
Nyimpine, for his part, simply said, “I don’t know this wretched individual.”
New York, December 5–Nyimpine Chissano, a son of Mozambican president Joaquim Chissano, today denied allegations that he ordered the murder of journalist Carlos Cardoso.
At least three of the six men on trial for Cardoso’s November 22, 2000, assassination have accused Nyimpine Chissano of being involved in the killing.
But Chissano testified today that he knows none of the suspects except confessed money-launderer Momade Assife Abdul Satar. The president’s son claimed to have given Satar four checks as collateral for a loan that Candida Cossa, a customs official and business partner, had taken from Satar’s currency exchange house, Unicambios.
Satar maintains that the checks prove that Chissano paid Satar to have Cardoso killed. Chissano dismissed Satar’s allegations, explaining that Satar inexplicably kept the checks even after Cossa had reimbursed the loan. “We don’t know why Unicambios held on to the checks,” he said. Asked if Cardoso’s critical reporting on his family had ever offended him, Nyimpine replied that although he never “resented” the journalist, some articles published by his daily, Metical, had “affected” the Chissano clan.
Chissano also claimed never to have met or spoken with Anibal dos Santos Junior (commonly known as Anibalzinho), a fugitive suspect believed to be the head of the AK-47wielding death squad that opened fire on Cardoso and his driver, Carlos Manjate. The president’s son also denied ever meeting confessed killer Carlitos Rashid Cassamo, who had previously told the court that he was present at a meeting during which Chissano gave Anibalzinho a bag containing US$4,200 dollars to kill Cardoso.
New York, December 2, 2002–Teresinha Mendonca, the mother of Anibal dos Santos Junior (commonly known as Anibalzinho), a fugitive suspect in the murder of journalist Carlos Cardoso, today declined to provide the City Court in Mozambique’s capital, Maputo, with evidence that she had earlier said linked her son to the murder.
“I can’t prove anything,” Mendonca told the presiding judge, Augusto Paulino, when asked for the alleged evidence.
Last week, Mendonca also claimed that two of those charged with the murder, Ayob Abdul Satar and Momade Assife Abdul Satar, had organized her son’s escape from prison.
Anibalzinho, who was arrested in connection to Cardoso’s murder in March 2001, escaped from a top-security prison on September 1, 2002.
Meanwhile, the Maputo City Court subpoenaed Nyimpine Chissano, a son of President Joaquim Chissano, to testify in the case as a material witness.
New York, November 28, 2002–Carlos Manjate, journalist Carlos Cardoso’s driver, appeared today in court as a witness.
According Mozambican press reports, Manjate said that on November 22, 2000, he saw a car approaching his and Cardoso’s vehicle at a high speed as they left the office of Metical, the daily business newsletter that Cardoso founded and edited. Manjate said he assumed that the approaching car was trying to overtake their vehicle. Instead, the car drove up next to Manjate, and a shot was fired that hit him in the head. He lost consciousness and did not hear the shots that took Cardoso’s life.
Manjate testified that only one car pursued them, contradicting other witnesses who claimed that two cars had attacked Manjate and Cardoso.
New York, November 27, 2002–Prosecutors today presented in court an AK-47 assault rifle that they believe was used to kill journalist Carlos Cardoso.
Along with the weapon, prosecutors also produced an ammunition clip containing 19 bullets, which they claim were found in a black rucksack that unidentified individuals had dumped in a Maputo garbage can.
The prosecutors said that police found the weapon and ammunition after receiving an anonymous tip. The police later added that they believe the anonymous caller was the person who found the discarded gun after the November 22, 2000, murder.
When pressed by state prosecutors to identify the AK-47 rifle as the weapon used to kill Cardoso, Carlos Rashid Cassamo, who confessed two days ago to killing the journalist, replied that it was not the murder weapon. Rashid also said that he had never seen the black rucksack before.
Meanwhile, one of the murder’s alleged masterminds, Vincente Ramaya, a former bank manager who is also on trial, told the court that Cardoso’s slaying had nothing to do with a 1996 banking scandal that Cardoso was covering at the time of his death as the Mozambican government claimed. Ramaya said that Cardoso was murdered for other reasons but did not elaborate.
New York, November 26, 2002–Confessed killer Carlos Rashid Cassamo repeated his claim in court today that he had witnessed three meetings between Nyimpine Chissano and Anibal dos Santos Junior (commonly known as Anibalzinho), a fugitive suspect in the case.
Rashid told the court that the first meeting took place in September 2000 in downtown Maputo, Mozambique’s capital, and said that Nyimpine Chissano gave Anibalzinho a plastic bag containing 100 million meticais (US$4,200).
According to Rashid, the second meeting between the two men took place in December 2000, shortly after the assassination of journalist Carlos Cardoso, on a road near Maputo beach. No money exchanged hands, but Rashid recalled Anibalzinho telling him, “The boss says the money will come.”
New York, November 25, 2002–Carlos Rashid Cassamo, one of the men accused of murdering journalist Carlos Cardoso, today confessed to the crime, which he claimed was ordered by Nyimpine Chissano, a son of President Joaquim Chissano.
Rashid, who confessed during the trial, is the third of the six suspects on trial to name Nyimpine Chissano as the mastermind of Cardoso’s slaying. Rashid’s account of the murder was essentially the same as that given earlier in the week by another suspect, Manuel Fernandes.
In separate testimony, suspect Momade Assife Abdul Satar admitted to money laundering and illegally lending large amounts of cash to local businesses, including the Polana Hotel casino, in which Nyimpine Chissano has substantial financial interests.
New York, November 22, 2002–Teresinha Mendonca, the mother of alleged assassin Anibal dos Santos Junior (commonly known as Anibalzinho) told the Maputo daily Noticias that her fugitive son is in London.
Anibalzinho is on trial in absentia, along with five others, for the murder Mozambique’s top investigative reporter, Carlos Cardoso.
Mendonca told Noticias that her son is in London “with some relatives,” and that she has been in contact with him. She added that Anibalzinho is willing to return to Mozambique and reveal “the whole truth” about the slaying if local authorities ensure his safety.
So far, Anibalzinho has denied involvement in Cardoso’s murder. But his mother said that he was involved, adding that former bank manager Vincente Ramaya and businessmen Momade Assife Abdul Satar and Ayob Abdul Satar, who are also suspects in the murder, arranged his September 1, 2002, escape from prison.
New York, November 21, 2002–Augusto Paulino, the judge presiding over the Carlos Cardoso murder trial, today admitted as evidence four checks signed by Nyimpine Chissano, a son of Mozambican president Joaquim Chissano. Some suspects in the murder case have called Nyimpine Chissano the crime’s mastermind.
One of the key suspects, Momade Assife Abdul Satar, claims that Nyimpine Chissano had paid for the murder with the checks.
Satar told the court that Nyimpine Chissano, who came to him in early November 2000 for a loan presumably to pay the killers, paid Anibal dos Santos Junior (commonly known Anibalzinho), the fugitive accused of heading the hit squad that murdered Cardoso on November 22, 2000.
New York, November 20, 2002–Judge Augusto Paulino lifted the ban on live broadcasts of the trial proceedings in the murder of journalist Carlos Cardoso.
The judge had imposed a news blackout soon after Nyimpine Chissano, a son of Mozambican president Joaquim Chissano, was publicly named by at least one of the suspects to have ordered Cardoso’s murder.
Judge Paulino today told the official AIM wire service that he was under “pressure from society, from the media, from people throughout the country” to lift the ban. “The Mozambican people want to know what’s going on,” he said.
New York, November 19, 2002–Manuel Fernandes, one of the six men accused of killing Carlos Cardoso, confessed to the crime, which he said was ordered by Nyimpine Chissano, a businessman and eldest son of Mozambican president Joaquim Chissano.
Fernandes told the court that his friend Anibal dos Santos Junior (commonly known as Anibalzinho) had recruited him for the hit squad on the day of the murder, November 22, 2000. He recalled Anibalzinho saying, “I want to take you out of poverty. I have a job given to me by the great ones.” When Fernandes asked what “great ones” he was talking about, Anibalzinho replied, “Nyimpine, the president’s son.”
Fernandes added that he was promised US$21,000, along with reassurance from Anibalzinho that, “It’s okay, nobody will touch you.” Soon after Fernandes’ confession, his own lawyer, Simeao Cuamba, threatened to abandon his defense. “My client has lied,” Cuamba said. But Judge Augusto Paulino ruled that Cuamba could not summarily drop his client. He asked Cuamba to defend Fernandes until another lawyer was hired.
Meanwhile, businessman Ayob Abdul Satar denied any involvement. He claimed to have never had any dealings with Anibalzinho. He said that he first heard of Cardoso’s killing on a Radio Mozambique news bulletin.
New York, November 18, 2002–The trial of the six men accused of murdering Mozambique’s leading investigative reporter, Carlos Cardoso, opened under tight security today in a prison outside the capital, Maputo.
The trial is taking place in a large, 500-seat tent erected on the premises of the prison where the six suspects have been held since their arrests in March 2001.
Carlos Cardoso, Mozambique’s leading investigative reporter, was gunned down, execution-style, on November 22, 2000. Six people were arrested in March 2001 for the murder. Their trial began on November 18, 2002, in a maximum-security prison outside the capital, Maputo.
Authorities have extended their probe to include Nyimpine Chissano, a son of President Joaquim Chissano. Although Nyimpine has not been charged, state prosecutors have said that the case against him arose from allegations made by businessman Momade Assife Abdul Satar and his brother Ayob Abdul that Nyimpine had attended a meeting during which plans to assassinate Cardoso were discussed. According to the prosecutors, the Satars claim to have served as middlemen in the murder, calling Nyimpine the actual mastermind of the crime. The suspects have accused Nyimpine of paying them with checks to murder Cardoso. Copies of the checks have been presented to a judge as evidence.
The Satar brothers, as well as Vincente Ramaya, a local bank manager, have been in pretrial detention since March 2001, along with two alleged hired hitmen. (Another alleged killer escaped from jail a month ago. According to the fugitive’s mother, her son is in London and is seeking official guarantees that he will not be harmed if he returns to testify.)
Mozambican authorities maintain that Cardoso was killed for his aggressive coverage of the country’s largest banking scandal, in which the Satar brothers and Ramaya are accused of siphoning US$14 million from the state-run Commercial Bank of Mozambique in 1996. But CPJ and other critics of the state probe have asked authorities to look into Cardoso’s reporting on Maputo’s real estate boom and a series of scandals at the private Banco Austral, then run by Nyimpine Chissano’s business partner Octavio Muthemba, as well as other subjects he was writing about at the time of his death.
“What [President Chissano] wants is justice,” said presidential spokesperson Antonio Matonse. “He wishes that the trial continues normally, regardless of the mention of his son.”
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MOZAMBIQUE: President’s son to be interrogated about journalist’s murder
POSTED November 11, 2002
MOZAMBIQUE: CPJ alarmed by case of murdered journalist
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MOZAMBIQUE: President’s son pursues defamation case against Metical reporter
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