Bolivia frees seven Brazilian soccer fans, holds five over boy's death

Reuters News
Posted: Jun 07, 2013 10:52 AM

La PAZ (Reuters) - A Bolivian judge has freed seven of the 12 Brazilian soccer fans held since February as part of an investigation into the death of a Bolivian boy from a flare allegedly launched by supporters of Brazil's Corinthians soccer club.

Five of the Brazilians remains in custody and will be tried over the death of the 14-year-old boy during a South American Libertadores Cup match in February.

He was hit in the eye and died almost instantly according to the doctor who attended to him.

A dozen Corinthians supporters were initially arrested and a criminal investigation was opened. The seven freed Brazilians, whose names were not announced, were expected to return to Brazil on Friday, authorities said.

The prosecutor in the case, Ruben Arancibia, told local radio that judge Julio Huarachi released seven of the 12 after weighing evidence against the group.

"It may seem that they were held a long time before being released, but you have to understand that an exhaustive investigation had to take place to get the necessary evidence and make the right decision," Arancibia said.

(Reporting by Carlos Quiroga; Writing by Hugh Bronstein; Editing by Vicki Allen)