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Brazil police find decapitated body of murdered journalist

SAO PAULO (AP) — The decapitated body of a blogger known for denouncing corrupt politicians has been found in a rural zone in southeastern Minas Gerais state, police said Wednesday.

Evany Jose Metzker, 67 was reported missing five days before his body was found near the town of Padre Paraiso in one of Brazil’s poorest regions.

“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 check book and his ID card were found near his body.

The officer spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized 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 by telephone. “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.

Carlos Lauria, the senior Americas Program coordinator of the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists said by telephone that at least 14 Brazilian journalists have been killed since 2011 “in retaliation for their work, making Brazil a very dangerous country for journalists.”

“Lethal violence against the Brazilian press is on the rise, impeding journalists from reporting critically on what is going on,” he said. “The level of violence (against journalists) in Brazil is unacceptably high.”

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