Miami (April 24, 2012)—The Inter American Press Association (IAPA) today condemned the death in Brazil of Décio Sá, the fourth journalist to be killed in the South American country so far this year, and called on the authorities there to conduct a prompt and in-depth investigation to determine who was responsible.
Sá was slain yesterday (April 23) around 11:30 p.m. as he sat in a bar-restaurant in the city of São Luís, capital of the state of Maranhão in northeast Brazil. An unidentified person, who according to eye-witnesses was believed to have verified the journalist’s identity, then shot him six times in the head and back and fled on a motorcycle driven by another person.
The chairman of the IAPA’s Committee on Freedom of the Press and Information, Gustavo Mohme, offered his sympathy to the journalist’s family members and colleagues, declaring, “The very same day that we were winding up our midyear meeting, in which we stated that ‘crimes against journalists continue to be one of the main problems that the press in the Americas is facing,’ another member of the press in our region was killed.”
Sá was a reporter with the newspaper O Estado do Maranhão and on his blog (http://www.blogodecio.com.br/) he would write in a critical manner about state politics. The reason for his homicide was not immediately known, but it has not been ruled out that it could be linked to his journalistic work. An official of the local Public Security Department said he believed that the way the assailant acted, not even hiding his face, indicates that he went into the place with the express intention of killing the journalist.
Mohme, editor of the Lima, Peru, newspaper La República, added, “Unfortunately, so long as justice is not done in such cases the murder of journalists will continue to go unpunished.”
In another development, the murder also occurred yesterday in Honduras of Noel Alexander Valladares Escoto, host of the program “El Show de Tecolote” broadcast by Maya TV. Two other people accompanying him at the time were also killed.
According to local media Valladares Escoto on his program predicted the numbers that would win the lottery. The authorities are investigating the motives for the triple murder and the identity of those that carried out the crime.