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JOURNALISM IN THE AMERICAS Blog

Venezuelan journalist detained for 16 days after covering protests against the government is freed



Venezuelan journalist Yonathan Guédez was released on April 26 after being detained for 16 days at one of the headquarters of the Bolivarian National Guard (GNB).

Guédez, communications worker for the city hall of Iribarren in Barquisimeto and journalist for digital site Las Peras, was detained on April 10 while covering one of the anti-government protests in the city. The journalist and 30 protesters were arrested that day by the GNB.

“I was in front of the building of (the newspaper) El Impulso, taking a picture of the people who were running. At that moment, motorcycle were coming, but since I’m just taking a photo, I did not run. When I hear the shots, obviously, I start running and at that moment they detained me,” Guédez said after being released, according to El Impulso.

Guédez was charged with crimes of resistant to authority, detention of an incendiary object and incitement to disturb public order. He was released on parole.

The journalist must appear before the judge every eight days, according to El Impulso.

According to the site, Guédez told the press that he was not attacked during his detention, only that he had to share an unventilated room with 60 other detainees.

“They treated us well. We speak of violence on the psychological side. They did not physically assault us. The day of the apprehension, yes, that was April 10. Not just me, but the rest of the detainees,” Guédez said according to the newspaper.

Venezuela has experienced a wave of social protests since the end of March, after the Supreme Court decided to suspend the legislative functions of the National Assembly. The political opposition to President Nicolás Maduro has a majority in the National Assembly.

According to newspaper El País, police repression taking place during the social demonstrations against Maduro’s government has claimed the lives of 29 people.

Through Twitter, the National Union of Press Workers of Venezuela (SNTP) demanded that Maduro respect journalists who go into the streets to inform.

SNTP reported on April 24 that at least 14 journalists and media workers were illegal and arbitrarily detained in the framework of street protests since March 31.

Chilean-Venezuelan journalist Braulio Jatar, who has been in prison since his arrest on Sept. 3, 2016, apparently for broadcasting a video of one of the many citizen protests against the government in Venezuela. A charge of money laundering made against him was only made public 48 hours after his detention. So far, there is no indication that he will be released, even though his lawyers and relatives have reported irregularities in his case, inhumane treatment against him, and a serious deterioration of his health.



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