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Freedom of expression NGO robbed

(IPYS-Venezuela/IFEX) - On 17 November 2011, unidentified individuals stole office supplies and electronic equipment from the offices of Espacio Público, a non-governmental organization dedicated to the promotion and defence of freedom of expression, the right to information and social responsibility in the media. The incident took place in Caracas, Venezuela.

Carlos Correa, the NGO's director, told IPYS-Venezuela that two individuals, as shown by footage on the organization's security cameras, stole eight desktop and two laptop computers, a video camera and other equipment in the early hours of 17 November. The NGO's representatives immediately reported the theft to the Institute for Scientific, Penal and Criminal Investigations (CICPC), which initiated an investigation into the incident.

The Public Prosecutor's Office has been investigating Espacio Público and IPYS-Venezuela since July 2010 because, according to President Hugo Chávez, they have allegedly been receiving funds from abroad, especially the United States, in order to "destabilize" his government.

It is worth noting that Espacio Público's director received a death threat and was attacked and his face was injured by alleged Chávez supporters in December 2010. At the time, Correa was appearing before the National Assembly, where he was presenting arguments against amendments to the Social Responsibility in Radio and Television Law and the Telecommunications Law.

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