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Globovisión camera operator and assistant detained for more than three hours at military base

(IPYS/IFEX) - On 5 August 2009, Globovisión camera operator Robmar Narváez and his assistant, Jesús Hernandez, were detained as they were recording images of a mural with drawings of several regional heroes that had been painted over in red and with gags over their mouths. The mural is located on one of the perimeter walls of the Army's 13th Infantry Brigade in the city of Barquisimeto, Lara state. The journalists were detained on orders given by General Gerardo Izquierdo, the commander of the military brigade.

Narváez told IPYS he was filming the mural when General Izquierdo approached him and demanded to see his press credentials. As he did not have them with him, Narváez showed the general his identity card instead. The general then ordered three officers to detain the journalist and Narváez was taken to the military headquarters. Along with Hernández, he was subjected to an interrogation by intelligence officers. The officers also took photographs of Narváez and Hernández and scanned their identity cards, as well as looking through the materials they had recorded.

Doricer Alvarado, a journalist for Globovisión, reported that Televen and Venezolana de Televisión camera operators and the Lara State government's press team also filmed the mural but were neither detained nor interrogated.

Izquierdo denied that the journalists had been detained and said they were "invited" to the military base in order to find out who they were.

The Venezuelan Security and Defence Law does not contain any regulation that forbids filming the facades of military facilities. Narváez and Hernández were kept at the military base for more than three hours. They underwent a forensic check to demonstrate that they had not been mistreated.

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