The Spanish government on Thursday demanded the immediate release of journalists working for the Spanish news agency EFE who were arrested in Venezuela. Madrid “strongly condemns” the detention in Caracas of four members of a team from Spanish news agency EFE by Venezuela’s state intelligence agency Sebin, the Foreign Ministry said.
Spain demands that “the competent authorities release them immediately,” it said, adding that Madrid “again asks the Venezuelan authorities to respect the rule of law, human rights and fundamental freedoms.” The three EFE journalists – a Spanish reporter, a Colombian videographer and a Colombian photographer – were arrested along with their Venezuelan driver on Wednesday, media reports.
Two French journalists from the TV channel TMC were detained on Tuesday as they filmed the presidential palace in Caracas and have not been heard from since, Venezuela’s main journalists’ union, the SNTP, said. Two Chilean journalists who were also arrested on Tuesday near the presidential palace “were kicked out of Venezuela” on Wednesday, it added.
Manuel Duran Ortega―founder of Memphis Noticias, a Spanish-language publication in Memphis, Tennessee―was arrested in April for disorderly conduct and obstructing traffic while covering a local protest. Duran Ortega was one of several journalists covering the protest, was wearing his press badge, and yet was the only journalist arrested.
Two days later, the Memphis Police Department dropped the charges against him. But instead of releasing Duran Ortega, Memphis officials turned him over to ICE. He was subsequently transferred to a detention center in Louisiana―separated from his family in Memphis.