Three men charged with murder of British journalist Dom Phillips in the Amazon rainforest

22 July 2022, 15:38 | Updated: 22 July 2022, 16:42

Dom Phillips was killed as he visited a remote region of the Amazon
Dom Phillips was killed as he visited a remote region of the Amazon. Picture: Getty

By Will Taylor

Three men have been charged with the murder of British journalist Dom Phillips in the Amazon rainforest.

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The men, who are river dwellers local to the remote western part of the forest, are also accused of murdering Bruno Pereira, an indigenous expert.

Brazilian authorities claim their motive came from Mr Pereira asking Mr Phillips to photograph them as they passed in a boat.

That part of the forest is known to be a hotspot for illegal fishing and poaching.

Both men were travelling on the Itaquai river to return to the city of Atalaia do Norte, having met indigenous people in a territory that borders Peru and Colombia, when they were attacked in June.

Their bodies were found hidden in the forest by authorities who were helped by indigenous people.

Prosecutors said Amarildo da Costa Oliveira and Jefferson da Silva Lima have confessed to the murder and witnesses suggest Oseney da Costa de Oliveira was involved.

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Mr Pereira, a former Brazilian indigenous affairs official who left to teach indigenous people how to patrol their land, had previous confrontations with fishermen and carried a gun with him.

He had run into fishermen before, having seized their catch, and received a number of threats. He also taught indigenous people how to gather geo-tagged photo evidence of crimes and was transporting that back to authorities in Atalaia do Norte when he was shot three times.

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Mr Phillips was working on a book called How to Save the Amazon. He was killed “only because of being with Bruno, in order to ensure impunity for the prior crime", prosecutors said.

A fourth man was arrested earlier in July but charges have not been filed against him.

Brazilian media has speculated if a ringleader of an illegal fishing network may have ordered the killings.