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Graphic artist at daily "El Periódico" killed in crossbow attack

(RSF/IFEX) - Reporters Without Borders has voiced its horror at the murder of graphic artist Abel Giron Morales, aged 29, of the privately-owned national daily "El Periódico". Giron died after being hit in the chest by an arrow fired from a crossbow.

The killer fired the arrow from a moving vehicle that had followed Giron after he left his home for work at the newspaper, on the outskirts of the capital, on 22 October 2008. He died while being taken to hospital. The public ministry declined to provide the press with information about the alleged motive for the murder to "avoid obstructing the investigation."

Witnesses to the killing, including a neighbour who immediately pulled out the arrow, described the killer as a "young-looking man" who was the passenger in a black pick-up truck which was moving as he fired.

Emergency services called to the scene said they had never seen such an attack. The deputy head of the section of the public ministry responsible for the investigation said the method used showed the "sadism" with which some criminals operate. She added that they appeared to know their victim's daily routine.

"We are deeply dismayed by this exceptionally cruel murder, which brings to three the number of Guatemalan journalists who have died violently this year," the worldwide press freedom organisation said. "The motive has not yet been established in any of the three cases," it added.

"We send our condolences to the family of Abel Giron Morales and to 'El Periódico'. We hope that those who carried out this killing will be quickly identified and arrested. We are waiting to know that the motive was."

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