Global Freedom of Expression

The Case of Alessandro Neves Augusto

On Appeal Expands Expression

Key Details

  • Mode of Expression
    Press / Newspapers
  • Date of Decision
    August 20, 2015
  • Outcome
    Criminal Sanctions
  • Case Number
  • Region & Country
    Brazil, Latin-America and Caribbean
  • Judicial Body
    First Instance Court
  • Type of Law
    Criminal Law
  • Themes
    Violence Against Speakers / Impunity

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Case Analysis

Case Summary and Outcome

Alessandro Neves Augusto, known as Pitote, was found guilty of the 2013 killing of journalists Rodrigo Neto and Walgney Asiis de Carvalho. Both men worked to expose police corruption in the Brazilian state of Minas Gerais. In June 2015, Augusto was found guilty and sentenced to 16 years imprisonment for the murder of Neto.  In August 2015, he was also convicted by a jury trial and sentenced to 14 years and three months imprisonment for the murder of Carvalho.

Human rights and other civil organizations have praised the government of Brazil for stepping up its effort in investigating and prosecuting individuals responsible for murdering journalists across the country. The Committee to Protect Journalists has described it as “a momentum [for the government] to identify and prosecute the mastermind and then double down on [its] effort to find justice for the more than dozen Brazilian journalists murdered in recent years.”

Columbia Global Freedom of Expression could not identify the official legal and government records on the case and that the information contained in this report was derived from secondary sources. It must be noted that media outlets may not provide complete information about this case. Additional information regarding this legal matter will be updated as an official source becomes available.


Alessandro Neves Augusto, known as Pitote, a hitman in the Brazilian state of Minas Gerais, was found guilty of committing the 2013 killing of two journalists Rodrigo Neto and Walgney Asiis de Carvalho.

Neto was the host of a radio show called Plantão Policial (Police Shift). His work concerned police corruption, including its involvement in extrajudicial killings in the country. On March 8, 2013, he was allegedly shot dead by Augusto.

In August 2014, former police officer Lúcio Lírio Leal was convicted and sentenced to 12 years imprisonment for conspiracy to kill Neto. The evidence indicated that Leal hired Augusto to kill journalist Neto. The evidence also showed that Carvalho, who was looking into Neto’s murder, was subsequently killed by Augusto in a similar hitman scenario.

Decision Overview

In June 2015, a Brazilian court of first instance sentenced Augusto to 16 years imprisonment for the murder of journalist Neto. Subsequently in August 2015, the court sentenced him to 14 years and three months imprisonment for the murder of Carvalho.


Decision Direction

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Decision Direction indicates whether the decision expands or contracts expression based on an analysis of the case.

Expands Expression

The Committee to Protect Journalists has stated that at least 14 journalists in the region have been murdered since 2011. The journalists have been murdered in retaliation for their journalistic function, particularly exposing police corruption. The government’s effort in ending impunity and investigating violence against the press is undoubtedly a key to protect the fundamental right to freedom of expression in Brazil.

Global Perspective

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Global Perspective demonstrates how the court’s decision was influenced by standards from one or many regions.

Case Significance

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Case significance refers to how influential the case is and how its significance changes over time.

This case did not set a binding or persuasive precedent either within or outside its jurisdiction. The significance of this case is undetermined at this point in time.

Official Case Documents

Reports, Analysis, and News Articles:

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