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Journalist receives kidnapping threats, allegedly from local government

(IPYS-Venezuela/IFEX) - On May 9, 2012 Arturo Francis, a journalist and columnist for “La Prensa de Barinas” newspaper, reported that his family was threatened with being kidnapped, after a person close to the regional government of the state of Barinas told him that the government is trying to scare him.

Francis told IPYS-Venezuela that the person who is close to the regional government told him that they are seeking a way to silence the news he reports on in his column on Saturdays, which is known for denouncing corruption and illegal acts carried out by political officers of the state. Some of these activities are related to the Construction Union in the state of Barinas.

Once he was made aware of the situation, Francis went to the Prosecutor's Office to report the kidnapping threat. He was told that should he require police protection for his family, they would provide it.

He also disclosed remarks made by a political officer of the Socialist United Party of Venezuela (PSUV) who is claimed to have said, about Francis, that “he is a foe of the government trying to sink the government, we must get rid of him”.

It is also important to highlight that a week before he learnt about such threats, a person who was riding a motorbike faked a collision with the car belonging to one of his daughters as she was arriving at the home of Katiuska Francis, another of his daughters.

The person riding the motorbike wore a green security uniform. He broke one of the vehicle's windows and drove off once he realized the situation had gotten out of control.

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