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Corinthians fans set for release from Bolivian jail

FEATURED WRITER
News 25 Jul 2013, 18:24 IST
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Supporters of Brazilian football team Corinthians are escorted as they enter San Pedro prison in Oruro, Bolivia on April 17, 2013

Rio de Janeiro, July 25 (IANS) Five Corinthians fans still under arrest over the death of a Bolivian teenager are set to be released this week.

Reginaldo Coelho, Leandro Silva de Oliveira, Jose Carlos da Silva Junior, Marco Aurelio Nefreire and Cleuter Barreto Barros have been held in the Brazilian city of Oruro since February for their alleged involvement in the death of Kevin Beltran Espada during a Copa Libertadores match, reports Xinhua.

The Brazilian embassy in La Paz is expecting confirmation of the decision by Bolivian authorities on Thursday, according to national daily O Globo.

It follows the release of seven other Corinthians fans from the San Pedro penitentiary in June.

Corinthians’ largest fan group Hawks of the Faithful, which has lobbied the Bolivian government to free the supporters, heralded news of the decision.

“Today there are no matches, but we have the victory of our brothers who won their freedom and are coming home,” the organisation said on Twitter.

It is understood the decision to free the prisoners follows a compensation payment made by Corinthians to the victim’s family.

Espada, 14, died after a flare launched by a Corinthians fan struck him in the face during the Brazilian club’s 1-1 draw with San Jose, February 21.

Days after the incident, a 17-year-old Corinthians supporter, identified only as H.A.M. confessed during a television interview to having launched the flare.

South American football’s governing body Conmebol originally banned Corinthians fans from attending home and away matches for the rest of the 2013 Copa Libertadores, the continent’s premier club competition.

The penalty was changed in March to one home match behind closed doors, a $200,000 fine and an 18-month ban on the club’s supporters for away matches.

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