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Brazilian Sentenced in Soccer Death

August 1, 1998

RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil (AP) _ For the first time, a soccer fan has been sentenced to prison for the violent death of a rival fan inside a stadium, the Brazilian media reported Saturday.

A jury found Adalberto Benedito dos Santos guilty on Friday in the 1995 death of 16-year-old Marcio Gasparin da Silva, who died after being clubbed on the head during a riot between fans of Sao Paulo FC and Palmeiras in a Sao Paulo stadium.

Judge Cassio Modenesi Barbosa sentenced dos Santos, 23, to 12 years in prison.

``The conviction is society’s response to the vandalism and savagery that has invaded soccer stadiums,″ said prosecutor Eloisa de Souza Arruda.

Dos Santos’ attorney, Laerte Torrens, says he will appeal the verdict.

In the past few years, clashes between fans of rival Brazilian clubs have occurred with increasing regularity. Weapons range from rocks and brass knuckles to guns and homemade grenades fashioned from billiard balls.

Da Silva’s death became an impetus for Sao Paulo authorities to stop the violence _ mainly by organized clubs comprised of young supporters.

Four days after da Silva’s death, police and the local soccer federation barred all fan clubs from state stadiums, a measure that is still in effect.

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