Brazilian feds formally charge 2 more in murder of Philips and Pereira
Brazilian Federal Police charge head of the transnational criminal group and his right-hand in the murder of British journalist Dom Philips and Brazilian Indigenous activist Bruno Pereira.
On Sunday evening, TV Globo revealed that federal police had formally charged two more men over the murders of Dom Phillips and Bruno Pereira in the Amazon last year. One of the two who were newly charged was the alleged leader of a "transnational illegal fishing network that operated in the tri-border region between Brazil, Colombia, and Peru," by the name of Ruben Dario da Silva Villar and the other was a fisherman who allegedly words for Villar monitoring the Itaquaí river, Janio Freitas de Souza.
Phillips and Pereira, a British journalist and a Brazilian Indigenous expert, were shot and killed on the Itaquaí River as they returned from an investigative trip to the Amazon.
It is worth noting that before the new charges, there were three local fishermen awaiting trial on suspicion of murder.
It was announced on Sunday that the Brazilian federal police charged Silva Villar, nicknamed Colombia, with ordering the murder and the concealment of the bodies of the two victims while Souza was charged with implementation and participation in committing the crime.
The Guardian, which claimed to have seen the 6-page federal indictment report, explained that the investigation indicated that the two newly charged criminals had communicated frequently ahead of the murder of Phillips and Pereira.
While Souza, in a 2022 interrogation, claimed to have known Silva Villar "by sight," reported The Guardian, the investigation later proved that a total of 419 calls were exchanged between the two criminals. The calls were dated between June 1st, 2022, and June 6, 2022, the date the two victims reached Javari and the date they were murdered.
A memory card belonging to Philips was also found in the vicinity of the murder scene, which contained a photo of Philips speaking to Souza on the morning of their murder, according to the report.
The case against Silva Villar accused him of being the head of an armed illegal fishing organization that illicitly extracted fish from Brazil's protected Indigenous territories and sold them across cities in Colombia and Peru.
As for Souza, he was accused of having been Silva Villar's "right-hand man" in Sao Rafael, a village on the riverside of the Itaquaí River, from which the two victims set off by boat right before they were murdered.
Today marks the anniversary of their killing, and events are set to be held across Brasilia, where Pereira once served the Indigenous cause through his work for an indigenous agency. Events will also be held on Rio’s Copacabana beach, a location Philips used for paddleboarding.
The Guardian also reported that other memorials would also be held in various cities such as Campinas, Salvador, and the Amazon city of Belém, as activists from EVU, the Indigenous monitoring team co-founded by Pereira, will travel up the Itaquaí River to erect a monument where the two victims were murdered.
Dom Philips and Sian Philips' sister underscored that “Many people were touched by this tragedy and these events are for people to come together and remember Dom and Bruno, and help deal with their loss.” As such, an event will also be held in Rich Mix, London, where people across the UK will pay tribute to the victim.