José Metzker, blogger, journalist, hero. R.I.P

José Metzker, a journalist who wrote on the corruption of Brazilian politicians on his blog Coruja do Vale (The Owl of the Valley), was found dead five days after being reported missing.

Actually, to say he was found dead is a major understatement. He had been severely tortured, scalped, and then decapitated. When he was found, he was half-naked with his hands tied behind his back. His body was located just outside of Padre Paraíso, a city in the Jequitinhonha Valley, where he was investigating political corruption, drug trafficking and child pornography rings.

Metzker knew he was risking his life to tell his stories.

A spokesman said: ‘The union is demanding a rigorous investigation. Independent journalist Evany Jose Metzker was warned he ran a risk investigating drug trafficking and child prostitution in this violent region.'”

His wife, Hilma Chavez Silva Borges, knew that he was risking his life to tell his stories.

“There are lots of murders here. I think that the motive, given the barbarity of his murder, was because he hit on something,” she was quoted as saying.

This man risked his life in a country that is recognized as the third most dangerous country in the world for journalists, according to Reporters Without Borders, and where the New-York based Committee to Protect Journalists estimate at least 14 Brazillian journalists have been killed since 2011.

This was a brave man, who kept speaking out after many others in his profession had given up due to he very real threats made against their lives by the people in their own country.

“His hands were tied behind his back and his body showed signs of torture,” a police press officer said, adding that the murder was apparently motivated by Metzker’s recent investigations into child prostitution and drug trafficking.
Metzker’s credit cards, a cheque book and his ID card were found near his body.
The officer spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorised to be quoted by name. He said police were also looking into the possibility that the murder was a crime of passion. He would not elaborate.
“It was a barbaric crime that has shocked Minas Gerais and all of Brazil,” Kerison Lopes, president of the Minas Gerais Journalists Union said. “He was decapitated, scalped and tortured.”
“There is a climate of terror in the region that intimidates reporters from doing their job,” he said, adding that Metzker often received death threats.


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