Guatemalan radio journalist shot dead inside his car

New York, September 12, 2006—Guatemalan radio reporter Eduardo Maas Bol was gunned down early Sunday morning inside his car on the outskirts of the central city of Cobán. The Committee to Protect Journalists is investigating whether Maas’ murder is connected to his work as a journalist.

Maas, the Cobán correspondent for the Guatemala City-based Radio Punto, was shot four times by unidentified assailants at around 4 a.m. near the road that connects Cobán to Guatemala City, local prosecutor Genaro Pacheco told CPJ. He was shot in the head, left arm, back, and chest.

The reporter was on his way to his house after driving a colleague home from a party, his brother Félix Maas Bol told CPJ. Pacheco said details were sketchy, but it appeared that Maas had parked his car when he was shot. The journalist’s wallet and gold jewelry were found intact inside the car, Pacheco said.

Maas reported news from the Alta Verapaz region. Félix Maas told CPJ that his brother had not been threatened.

Maas also worked as a supervisor for the Ministry of Education, as a spokesman for the local journalists’ union, and as a human rights advocate, according to his brother. Until three months prior to his death, Maas had directed the daily news program “Correo del norte” on local Radio Mía, which he left after a change in the station’s administration, said Eduardo Fam Chun, the vice president of the local journalists union.

Local authorities detained a suspect, who was not immediately identified. Pacheco said investigators are interviewing six witnesses and are reviewing Maas’ reporting in connection with the crime. According to Pacheco, Maas’ journalism remains a possible motive.