Journalists Killed  |  Brazil

Décio Sá

O Estado do Maranhão and Blog do Décio

April 23, 2012, in São Luis, Brazil

Sá, 42, a Brazilian political journalist and blogger, was shot six times while sitting in a bar, according to news reports. The assailant fled the scene with a motorcyclist who was waiting outside, the reports said.

Sá wrote about politics for the local newspaper O Estado do Maranhão for about 17 years, according to news reports. He was also known for his coverage of politicians and corruption on his blog, Blog do Décio, which was one of the most widely read in the state, news reports said. Cezar Scanssette, a journalist at O Estado do Maranhão, told CPJ that Sá had many enemies because of his critical reporting.

Investigators told reporters that the murder was a contract killing carried out by professionals who had most likely mapped out Sá's daily routine, news reports said. Police considered Sá's blog reporting as the likely motive for the murder, the reports said. José Sarney, president of the Brazilian Senate and whose family owns O Estado do Maranhãocalled the crime "an attack on democracy," news reports said.

In the months following the attack, authorities arrested at least nine suspects who they said were accomplices and plotters and were linked to a loan shark ring that Sá had tied to a local murder in his blog, according to press reports. The suspects included local businessman Gláucio Alencar, accused of being the leader of the ring and of ordering Sá's murder, and a deputy chief of police, both of whom denied the charges, according to news reports.

Suspect Jhonatan de Sousa Silva told police he was the gunman and had been hired by the other defendants. Sousa said the defendants were angered by Sá's reporting on their alleged loan-sharking, extortion, and embezzlement practices, according to news reports. In February 2014, Sousa was sentenced to 25 years and three months in jail, according to news reports. Marcos Bruno Oliveira, who claimed he was innocent, was sentenced to 18 years and three months on charges of transporting Sousa to and from the crime. Alencar and the police officer, as well as the other remaining suspects, currently await trial, according to news reports.

Sá is survived by his wife, who was pregnant, and an 8-year-old daughter.


Medium: Print, Internet

Job: Internet Reporter, Print Reporter

Beats Covered: Corruption, Politics

Gender: Male

Local or Foreign: Local

Freelance: No

Type of Death: Murder

Suspected Source of Fire: Criminal Group

Impunity: Partial

Taken Captive: No

Tortured: No

Threatened: Yes


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