Last Corinthians fans freed from jail

Rio de Janeiro, Aug 3 (IANS): Five Corinthians fans, held over the death of a teenage fan, have been released after almost six months in a Bolivian jail.

Reginaldo Coelho, Leandro Silva de Oliveira, Jose Carlos da Silva Junior, Marco Aurelio Nefreire and Cleuter Barreto Barros were freed Friday. The fans had been held in Oruro, Bolivia, since February for their alleged involvement in the death of Kevin Beltran Espada, who was hit by a flare during a Copa Libertadores match, reports Xinhua.

The decision came almost two months after the release of seven other Corinthians fans from the San Pedro penitentiary.

"The Brazilian government is satisfied by the decision by Bolivia's judiciary to free the last five Brazilians who were held in Oruro. They have been released and are receiving all the support of the embassy in La Paz with a view to their imminent return to Brazil," said a statement from Brazil's foreign ministry.

According to reports, the decision to free the prisoners came only after Corinthians agreed to pay $50,000 in compensation to the victim's family. But the Brazilian club denied the claims, saying the payment was merely a 'humanitarian' gesture.


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