This story excerpt was translated from Portuguese. To read the original story in full, visit Agência Pública. You may also view the original story on the Rainforest Journalism Fund website here. Our website is available in English, Spanish, bahasa Indonesia, French, and Portuguese.
Atalaia do Norte (AM) - As the investigations of the inquiry conducted by the Civil Police advance, more details emerge about the motives behind the murder of the indigenous activist Bruno Pereira and the journalist Dom Phillips, which occurred on Sunday, June 5th, on the Itaquaí river.
Although the Federal Police and the crisis committee issued press releases and have held at least one press conference in Manaus (AM), gaining media protagonism for themselves, it is at the Civil Police station of Atalaia do Norte that is conducting the investigation into the crimes. The investigation is being carried out by two civilian police officers from Atalaia and by the police station chief Alex Perez, and is being accompanied by the public prosecutor Elanderson Lima Duarte, who will be responsible for reporting the case to the Judiciary in order to initiate criminal proceedings. The Federal Police is conducting a parallel investigation in which it has carried out examinations with federal criminal experts and has helped in the searches and in taking statements.
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As of last Sunday, June 19, the Civil Police had taken the statements from 14 witnesses and three suspects, including the main defendant who, according to the police, confessed to the crimes: the fisherman and hunter Amarildo Oliveira, known as "Pelado". According to Civil Police investigator Joilnen David Morais da Rocha, who has been working on the case since the morning of June 6, the motive for the crime was "Pelado" and his collaborators' repeated illegal fishing in the Javari Valley. The largest indigenous entity in the region, Univaja, had already denounced, before the crime, the role of "Pelado" in the invasion of indigenous territory for illegal hunting and fishing.