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Journalist summoned to District Attorney's office after voicing his opinion about accusations against a mayor

(IPYS/IFEX) - On 29 October 2009, Francisco "Pancho" Pérez, a columnist for the newspaper "El Carabobeño", was summoned to the District Attorney's Office of the state of Carabobo, in central Venezuela, after having been accused of slander by Mayor Edgardo Parra.

The charge derives from a piece published on 30 March in his column "El Secreto", where he voiced an opinion about an accusation of nepotism against the mayor of Valencia.

He was summoned as part of a procedure to evaluate if there are motives to charge the accused. The District Attorney's Office has to reach a decision within a period of six months.

The XI assistant attorney, José Alberto Morillo, will not call for (legal) action against the journalist until it is determined if charges will be pressed, there will be a stay of the proceedings, or the case will be shelved.

Pérez's lawyers explained to the media that the case should not be examined by the District Attorney's Office as the crimes in question are defamation and slander, which should lead to a private action, not a public one.

The journalist, who has been writing his column for 25 years, appeared before the DA and stated that there was no intent to damage anybody's image with his comments.

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