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Published: Friday, 10/11/2013

Officers arrest Venezuela radio journalist minutes after he criticizes them on air

ASSOCIATED PRESS

CARACAS, Venezuela — A Venezuelan radio journalist was arrested by police detectives on the air just minutes after complaining to listeners that they drive around in luxury cars and wear flashy jewelry, the man’s son said today.

Victor Hugo Donaire, 50, remained in jail today, a day after four officers of the national investigative police interrupted his morning show at Radio Los Morros in the Guarico state capital of San Juan.

He was being held on charges of resisting arrest and mistreating a public official, said his son, Danny Donaire, the station’s vice president.

He said the officers manhandled station employees, confiscating the cellphone of its administrator so she could not take photos.

Audio of the scuffle was broadcast by various Venezuelan news media.

“We’re really upset and worried,” said Danny Donaire. “They didn’t have a warrant.” He said attorneys for his father were at the local jail today trying to secure his release.

The agents who arrested Victor Hugo Donaire were from Venezuela’s largest police agency, the Scientific, Penal and Criminalistic Investigations Corps.

The Associated Press called the local offices of the corps, where a detective said all inquiries were being handled by prosecutors, who could not immediately be reached.

Human rights and press freedom groups complain that Venezuela’s socialist-led government under the late President Hugo Chavez consolidated control of most of the country’s media and press freedom groups.

They accuse government officials of using the state telecommunications regulatory agency to try to silence them, often through crippling fines. But a warrantless arrest of a journalist is highly unusual.



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