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Guatemala24 October 2008

Graphic artist on daily El Periódico killed by crossbow

Reporters Without Borders today voiced its horror at the murder of graphic artist Abel Girón Morales, aged 29, of privately-owned national daily El Periódico, who 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 Girón after he left his home for work on the newspaper, on the outskirts of the capital on 22 October. 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 previously 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 and 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 Girón 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”.

In this country
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13 October - Guatemala
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13 May - Guatemala
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