Gunmen kill Brazil judge who jailed corrupt cops

RIO DE JANEIRO,  (Reuters) – Gunmen yesterday  ambushed and killed a Brazilian judge known for taking a hard  line against criminals, including corrupt police officers.

Patricia Lourival Acioli

The early-morning slaying of Patricia Lourival Acioli in  Niteroi, across a bay from Rio de Janeiro, prompted the Supreme  Court to demand a swift investigation by federal police.

“Cowardly crimes against magistrates are an attack on the  independence of the judiciary, the state and Brazilian  democracy,” Supreme Court President Cezar Peluso said in a  statement.

“The preservation of the rule of law in our country demands  a rapid investigation of the facts and a rigorous punishment of  those responsible for this barbarous act.”

A group of gunmen fired at least 16 bullets into the  judge’s car as she arrived at her house, according to Brazilian  media reports.

The 47-year-old mother of three had been on a death list  found in possession of a jailed militia leader this year, the  Globo website quoted investigators as saying.

Militias made up of off-duty police and firefighters have  expanded in Rio’s lawless slums in recent years, ousting drug  gangs in turf battles over the lucrative supply of services  such as cable
TV and cooking gas.

“Patricia received threats for at least five years. She was  considered a hard-line judge, always giving the maximum  penalty,” her cousin, Humberto Nascimento, was quoted as saying  by Globo.
Rio has been trying to tackle its reputation for violent  crime as it prepares to co-host the soccer World Cup in 2014  and host the Olympic Games in 2016.

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