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Newspaper's lawyer receives death threats warning her to stop commenting on recent murder of its vice-president

(IPYS/IFEX) - On 25 June 2008, Yisel Soares, attorney for the newspaper "Reporte Diario de la Economía", reported having recently received telephone and e-mail threats warning her to stop commenting on the 2 June murder of the newspaper's vice-president, Pierre Fould Gerges. In the messages, Soares was told that she will be the next victim if she continues talking about the case. She was also warned that the newspaper's headquarters could be set on fire. The incident took place in Caracas.

Soares told IPYS that after receiving the messages she filed a complaint with the Institute for Scientific, Penal and Criminal Investigations (Cuerpo de Investigaciones Científicas, Penales y Criminalísticas, CICPC). As a result, Judge Leiby Rojas, of Caracas's 30th Tribunal, issued an order assigning police protection for the newspaper's president, Tannous Gerges, and for Soares herself.

The newspaper's vice-president, Pierre Fould Gerges, was shot twelve times on 2 June by an unidentified individual on a motorbike. Gerges was in a gas station in the Chuao sector of Caracas, a few minutes after leaving the newspaper's headquarters. The killer fled with the motorbike's driver.

At the time of his murder, Gerges was driving his brother Tannous Gerges's car. Tannous Gerges received several threatening e-mails and telephone calls in 2007, after the newspaper reported on allegations of corruption at the state-owned Petróleos de Venezuela (PDVSA) and other Venezuelan institutions. It is possible that the killer may have mistaken the victim for his brother.

Updates the Gerges case:

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