Venezuela: prominent journalist taken by intelligence service

Luis Carlos Daz, who went missing at about 5.30pm Monday, was taken by Sebin, fellow journalists confirmed

A prominent Venezuelan journalist who had been reporting on the countrys escalating political crisis and electricity blackout out has been seized by secret police, sparking international condemnation.

Luis Carlos Daz went missing at about 5.30pm on Monday after leaving the radio station where he worked in the capital, Caracas.

A social media hunt ensued with Twitter users demanding #DndeEstLuisCarlos or #WhereIsLuisCarlos.

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Early on Tuesday, fellow journalists confirmed Daz had been taken by members of Venezuelas feared intelligence service, Sebin.

Venezuelas National Press Workers Union said agents raided Dazs home shortly before dawn, seizing computers and pen drives as the handcuffed journalist looked on.

Daz is reportedly now being held in the notorious El Helicoide political prison.

Luz Mely Reyes, an internationally acclaimed Venezuelan journalist, told the Guardian her colleagues detention was part of an escalating war on the press being waged by the countrys embattled leader, Nicols Maduro.

Maduro is fighting for his political life after an audacious challenge from a young opposition leader called Juan Guaid, who most western governments now recognize as Venezuelas rightful interim president.

I think one of the things [Maduro] is trying to achieve is to intimidate [journalists] and ensure the stories about what is going on in Venezuela are not told, Reyes said. Repression against the press has been growing.

Last week, one day before much of Venezuela was paralyzed by a massive power cut, an American freelance journalist who had worked for the Daily Telegraph was deported after being seized at his home in Caracas.

A rightwing German journalist, Billy Six, has reportedly been held in El Helicoide since being detained on suspicion of espionage last year.

It is just a joke, his father, Edward Six, told the Guardian in a recent interview. Journalism is not a crime.

Dazs detention which authorities have yet to explain triggered condemnation in and outside of Venezuela, with Guaid denouncing Maduros persecution of journalists.

The UN Human Rights chief Michelle Bachelet tweeted that she was deeply worried by the detention of Daz, adding that UN officials in Caracas had urgently requested access to him.

During a brief conversation in the early hours of Tuesday, Daz reportedly told Naky Soto, his journalist wife, he had been detained near the Korean embassy in Caracas while riding his bicycle home. Agents said he was suspected of IT offenses.

Last Friday, Maduros second-in-command, Diosdado Cabello, published a conspiratorial video on Twitter insinuating Daz was part of a rancid rightwing US-backed plot to destroy Venezuelas electricity network.

Reyes said she feared Dazs detention would not be the last, as the political situation in Venezuela deteriorated. This is not a game this is a very serious situation that puts us on alert.

Original Article : HERE ; This post was curated & posted using : RealSpecific

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