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NGO director attacked, threatened

(IPYS-Venezuela/IFEX) - On 16 December 2010, individuals presumed to be supporters of President Hugo Chávez struck and threatened to kill Carlos Correa, a journalist and director of the non-governmental freedom of expression organisation Espacio Público. The incident took place in the vicinity of the National Assembly (legislative branch) in Caracas.

Correa was in the company of members of other nongovernmental organizations that constitute the Alliance for Freedom of Expression (of which IPYS is a member), talking to the media after having delivered a letter to National Assembly president Cilia Flores. An object was thrown and struck Correa in the head, causing a great deal of swelling. A man dressed in a blue jacket and a cap then threatened Correa, saying, "We are going to kill you."

Members of the National Guard and of the National Assembly's internal security staff were present during the incident but failed to intervene.

A few minutes earlier, Mariana Belalba, Espacio Público's lawyer, photographed a security officer having a conversation with one of the presumed Chavez supporters. The guard demanded that she delete the photograph when he noticed what she was doing.

The letter addressed to the National Assembly requested an opportunity for dialogue with elected representatives about reforms that are being debated by parliament, among them the Law on Social Responsibility in Radio and Television and the telecommunications law.

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