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Seven arrested in investigation into killing of blogger Décio Sá

(RSF/IFEX) - Seven people, including a businessman and former local councillor, and a police officer were arrested two days ago by Maranhão state police investigating the murder of the Brazilian journalist and blogger Décio Sá, gunned down on 23 April in a bar in São Luis. It now seems likely that the killing was related to his work since the main suspects had been criticized by the murder victim, who ran his own blog ( http://www.blogdodecio.com.br/ ) and also worked as a political journalist for the daily O Estado de Maranhão.

“The progress in the investigation is most welcome. We hope that justice will be served swiftly on behalf of Décio Sá, whose murder is a reminder of the great risks incurred by journalists who dare to tackle the subjects of organized crime and corruption,” Reporters Without Borders said. “We expect similar progress in other unsolved cases such as those of Mario Randolfo Marques Lopes and Paulo Rocaro, both killed in February.”

Glaúcio Alencar Pontes Carvalho, 34, a businessman and former local councillor, and his father Alencar Miranda Carvalho, 72, were accused of ordering Sá's murder.
An associate of Glaúcio Alencar's, Raimundo Sales Charles Júnior, 38, and two other men, Fábio Aurélio do Lago e Silva, 32, and Airton Martins Monroe, 24, were alleged to have hired hitman Jhonathan de Souza Silva, 24, to carry out the killing. Silva, who also faces drug trafficking charges, has admitted to 20 other murders of a total of 49 he is suspected to have carried out in the states of Maranhão and Pará. Also arrested was Fábio Aurélio Saraiva, a former captain in the Maranhão military police strike force, who was suspected of supplying the killer with the gun used in the murder. Another suspect, Valdênio José da Silva, was arrested two days after Sá's death and subsequently released. He himself was murdered the day before the police operation. The seventh person taken custody was named as Fábio Roberto Calvacante Lima.

According to the police, Sá was believed to have been killed because he knew of Glaúcio Alencar's alleged involvement in loan sharking and racketeering and, especially, his alleged implication in the murder of a pawnbroker. A solution to the Sá murder would allow the police to dismantle a veritable crime network that includes those involved in the case among others.

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