1 Journalist Murdered in Latvia since 1992

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Gundars Matiss

Kurzeme Vards

November 28, 2001, in Liepaja, Latvia

Matiss, a crime reporter with the Liepaja-based daily Kurzeme Vards, was attacked on November 15 in the stairwell of his apartment building after he returned home from a shopping expedition. In a phone conversation from the hospital two hours after the attack, Matiss told the paper's editor-in-chief, Andzilss Remess, that someone followed him home and hit him from behind with a truncheon or club. He was struck several times on the head, arms, and legs. The assailant fled when neighbors interrupted the attack.

Matiss underwent three operations and fell into a coma. He died on November 28 from a brain hemorrhage. The reporter had most recently investigated the contraband alcohol trade in Liepaja, according to Remess.

Though the police cited robbery, personal revenge, and retaliation for his journalism as possible motives, Matiss had not been robbed, and does not seem to have been involved in any serious personal dispute. His editor told CPJ: "Matiss knew a lot about the criminal world. He was one of those reporters who went deep." At press time, the police investigation was still ongoing.

Medium: Print

Job: Print Reporter

Beats Covered: Crime

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: No