News

March 12, 2019 - Updated on March 13, 2019

Venezuela: Journalist released conditionally, accused of inciting crime

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UPDATE ON 13th MARCH 2019


The journalist Luiz Carlos Díaz was released conditionally last night after being held for more than 24 hours. While awaiting trial, he has to present himself to the authorities every week and is banned from leaving the country and from talking to the media about his arrest. Díaz is charged with inciting crime in connection with the power blackout that has affected much of the country since the end of last week. Reporters Without Borders (RSF) calls on the authorities to drop all charges against him and to make his release unconditional.


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Venezuelan intelligence agency arrests well-known radio journalist


Reporters Without Borders (RSF) calls for the immediate release of Luis Carlos Díaz, a well-known Venezuelan journalist who was arrested in Caracas on a conspiracy charge late last night by intelligence officials, who confiscated some of his equipment.


Known for being critical of the government, Luis Carlos Díaz was arrested by members of the Bolivarian Intelligence Service (SEBIN) as he was returning home from Unión Radio, the radio station for which he works. According to local media reports, he was mistreated at the time of his arrest.

 

The SEBIN agents initially took him to his home, where they seized personal and professional electronic devices including mobile phones, a laptop and a data storage device. They then took him to SEBIN headquarters, where he is still being held.

 

Constituent assembly president and government strongman Diosdado Cabello suggested in his television show on 8 March that Díaz was part of an alleged conspiracy responsible for the massive power blackout that has been paralyzing Venezuela for days.

 

We call on the Venezuelan authorities to immediately release Luis Carlos Díaz and to announce what this journalist is charged with,” said Emmanuel Colombié, the head of RSF’s Latin America bureau. “The Venezuelan government is resorting to arbitrary arrests of critical journalists with increasing frequency, reinforcing the climate of insecurity for the media.”

 

At least 32 Venezuelan and foreign journalists have been arrested and illegally placed in detention since the start of the year, according to the Institute for Press and Society (IPYS) and The National Press Workers Union (SNTP). On 31 January, RSF asked United Nations secretary-general Antonio Guterres to intercede urgently with President Nicolás Maduro to end the arrests.

 

Venezuela is ranked 143rd out of 180 countries in RSF’s 2018 World Press Freedom Index.