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Camera operator assaulted by police, detained

(FOPEA/IFEX) - 25 February 2010 - On 23 February, Gastón Reyes, a camera operator for Canal 9, was detained by federal police officers. According to Reyes and eyewitness reports, the officers involved were deputy inspector Julio Ricardo Kieffer Suárez of the 29th Division and a corporal from the 53rd Division. FOPEA demands that the federal police and the Ministry of the Interior investigate the incident and discipline the two officers involved.

Reyes and other colleagues were covering an incident in Buenos Aires in which a police helicopter had landed to pick up an injured officer to take him to the hospital. According to Reyes, there was no security barrier between the police and the journalists. A policeman without identification approached Reyes and began to harass him in order to prevent him from filming. Then the officer - allegedly Kieffer - and another officer hit Reyes in the face with a walkie talkie, pushed him to the ground and handcuffed him. He was taken to the 53rd Division station for allegedly resisting authority, where he was detained for four hours.

Reyes told FOPEA that the police put the handcuffs on backwards, which caused sharp pains in his wrists. He sought medical attention for his wrists immediately after being released from custody. Reyes was expected to file a complaint before the court.

The head of public relations for the federal police, Néstor Rodríguez, did not return FOPEA's phone calls. However, FOPEA has confirmed that the Office of Internal Affairs for the Federal Police and Justice Department is investigating the actions of the two officers involved.

FOPEA condemns the aggression and detention of a media worker and demands that the authorities investigate the incident and punish the officers involved. At the same time, FOPEA also expresses its support for Reyes.

Reyes's detention was caught on videotape. Click here to see the video.

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