Family bids farewell to British journalist murdered in the Amazon

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NITEROI, Brazil (Reuters) – The family of Dom Phillips on Sunday bid farewell to the British journalist, who was killed earlier this month along with Brazilian indigenous expert Bruno Pereira in the Amazon.

Phillips’ wife Alessandra Sampaio, siblings Sian and Gareth, and brother-in-law Paul Sherwood attended the 57-year-old’s funeral in Niteroi near Rio de Janeiro.

“Today Dom will be cremated in the country he loved, his chosen home,” Sampaio said.

“He was a very special person not only for defending what he believed in as a professional but also for having a huge heart and great love for humanity,” she said.

Alessandra Sampaio (C-R), wife of British journalist Dom Phillips, receives a hug from several relatives during the funeral services of her husband, at the Parque da Colina cemetery in Niteroi, a city in the metropolitan region of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 26 June 2022. Family and friends say goodbye this Sunday 26 June in Rio de Janeiro to the British journalist who collaborates with ‘The Guardian’, Dom Phillips, murdered in the Amazon together with the Brazilian indigenista Bruno Araujo. Both were reported missing on 05 June and after the discovery days later of two bodies and the completion of the forensic genetics tests in Brasilia, they were identified despite the advanced state of decomposition and the violence committed by the murderers. The bodies of Phillips and Araujo Pereira were found lifeless near the municipality of Atalaia do Norte, where they had traveled to collect information for the book that the British journalist was writing about threats against the Indians.
EPA-EFE/Andre Coelho

Sian revealed that the couple was planning to adopt two Brazilian children.

Phillips, a freelance reporter who had written for the Guardian and the Washington Post, was doing research for a book on the trip with Pereira, a former head of isolated and recently contacted tribes at federal indigenous affairs agency Funai, when they vanished in the remote Javari Valley on June 5.

Their remains were recovered from a grave in the jungle roughly 10 days later after a fisherman who confessed to killing them, Amarildo da Costa, led Brazil’s police there.

His memorial happened two days after Pereira’s funeral, which was attended by indigenous peoples who paid their respects with song and dance.

Outside the cemetery where Phillips’ funeral was held people protested with signs reading “Who ordered to kill Dom and Bruno?”

Police said earlier this month that their investigation suggested that more individuals were involved beyond Costa but that they were likely to have acted alone, with no bosses behind the crime. That theory was challenged by indigenous group Univaja.

Phillips’ family said they will keep following the investigation and demanding justice.

“He was killed because he tried to tell the world what was happening to the rainforest and its inhabitants,” Sian said.

Reporting by Sebastian Rocandio and Pilar Olivares; Writing by Gabriel Araujo


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