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Décio Sá | Journo Down in Maranhão

Décio Sá, Murdered for blogging

The independent freelance journalist Décio Sá is murdered gangland style in the northern state of Maranhão six months ago.

In an update on the case this week,

I translate.

The state judicial police of Maranhão have tied the conspiracy behind the murder  of journalist Décio Sá to a scheme to divert federal funds from municipalities in the state. Documents examined in the course of the official investigation suggest that the scheme involved as much as R$ 100 million — US$ 50 million. The journalist is thought to have been killed to prevent him from denouncing the scheme, according to an article published Monday by UOL.

Sá, an independent journalist who published his work on his personal blog, was shot to death in April of this year as he waited for friends at a bar on Litorânea Avenue, in São Luís. Investigations indicate that the group who contracted the hit are part of a conspiracy to siphon off public funds and engage in loan sharking, extortion and intimidation. There are indications that the same group is behind other homicides in the state as well.

Police have identified the persons who ordered the hit on Sá as: José de Alencar Miranda Carvalho, 72; Gláucio Alencar Pontes Carvalho, 34; and Airton Martins Monroe, 24. Documentary evidence on the loan sharking activities of this group have been delivered to the federal prosecutor for Maranhão.

Federal prosecutor José Leite Filho says his office and the federal police will investigate the accusation.  “In view of the number of municipalities allegedly involved, we will put together a task force. We should shortly be able to provide the citizens of Maranhão with solid information», Leite told UOL.

Friends and supporters of the blogger released the following note on the six month anniversary of his death.

It has now been six months since blogger and journalist Décio Sá was assassinated with five shots from a .40 caliber pistol by Jhonatan de Sousa Silva, 24, in the bar of the Estrela do Mar restaurant, situated on Avenida Litorânea, in the beachfront neighborhood of São Marcos, as Sá waited for a friend with whom he planned to have dinner. Décio Sá was killed on the orders of business owners tied to loan sharking in Maranhão and Piauí after Sá denounced them on his blog.

That very night, the state public security secretariate formed a task force to look into the case, and on the following day the investigation began. Investigators found that the blogger was a victim of loan sharks targeted for accusations of operating fraudulent schemes involving the abuse of state and federal funding by municipal governments.

Police say the trigger man, Jhonatan Silva, was hired by a network of loan sharks led by Gláucio Carvalho e José Miranda Carvalho. The three men were arrested on June 13 during the state judicial police Operation Detonation,  which also led to the arrest of Fábio Aurélio do Lago e Silva, aka «Bochecha», 32. One of the few figures in the scheme to evade arrest was Shirliano Graciano de Oliveira, aka «Balão»,  27, who was not found at his home address in Santa Inês.

Despite his youth, Jhonatan de Sousa Silva has admitted in his statements to state police to carrying out more than 30 murders in the Brazilian North and Northeast, most of them near the city of  Xinguara, in Pará, where he was born. Investigators found that of the R$ 100,000 promised to Silva for the murder of Décio Sá, Silva received only $R20,000. On August 25, No dia 25 de agosto, Jhonatan de Sousa Silva was transferred to the maximum security federal prison in Campo Grande, in Mato Grosso do Sul.

On Friday, October 19, the former commander of the Shock Battalion of the state military police, Capt. |Fábio Aurélio Saraiva Silva, 36 anos, who has also been charged in the case, had his habeas corpus petition denied by a unanimous state high court. The military police officer was charged with supplying the weapon used in the Décio Sá assassination.

The preliminary investiation of the Décio Sá murder was concluded and passed to the prosecutor on August 17. Comprising 1,970 pages and 31 volumes, the case has been forwarded to a court in Calhau. Investigations were undertaken by agents of SEIC, the State Superintendent of Criminal Investigations, and by the San Luis homicide squad: Jeffrey Furtado, Maymone Barros, Guilherme Sousa Filho, Roberto Vagner Fortes, Roberto Larrat e Augusto Barros Neto, superintendente da Seic.