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Leader of pro-government group under house arrest after new attack on journalists

(RSF/IFEX) - Reporters Without Borders voiced its relief after Adolfo Cerrudo, a leader of the radical pro-government Popular Civic Committee, was placed under house arrest on 14 November 2008. He took part in physical assaults, along with 200 other committee members, against a score of journalists outside San Pedro de La Paz prison, who were there to cover the investigation into the ousted governor Leopoldo Fernández on 29 October. Cerrudo is under investigation for threatening to rape a journalist of the privately owned daily "La Razón". At the time, he was under a legal injunction preventing him from approaching members of the media as a condition of his bail.

Following a hearing at which a psychological evaluation of Cerrudo revealed his "violent and aggressive tendencies", he was put under house arrest, except for attending court hearings. Police have moreover been posted outside his home since 17 November after he broke the ruling the day after it was handed down. "These preventive measures are a necessary protection for the safety of all journalists and we hope they will be followed with a conviction against Adolfo Cerrudo, to send a clear signal to radical activists who have been routinely targeting members of the media with complete impunity", the worldwide press freedom organisation said.

For further information on the "La Razón" journalist's case, see: http://www.ifex.org/en/content/view/full/95775

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