The state of Rio de Janeiro’s witness protection program has gone four months without money due to a bureaucratic hold-up, the newspaper O Dia reports.

The program is overseen by an NGO that must renew its contract with the state government each year and, so far in 2011, state authorities are four months behind in issuing the renewal. The program’s chairman, Renata Bressan, told O Dia that the funding delays occur every year. The program has been instrumental in protecting witnesses who testify against the armed militias that have seized control of many of Rio’s most violent slums, and police officials say the funding gap is putting those witnesses in jeapordy.

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