Journalist Killed during Clashes Following Coup in Venezuela

Thursday, April 11, 2002
CJFE expressed anger over the killing of Venezuelan journalist Jorge Tortoza, fatally wounded while covering public clashes that forced Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez to resign. Tortoza, a news photographer for the daily newspaper 2001, was reportedly shot in the head by an army sniper firing from the roof of city hall in downtown Caracas, the capital. Three other journalists were injured while reporting on the protests. Luis Hernández, a reporter with a local paper, was shot in the stomach and in the kidney. He underwent surgery for his wounds and is currently recovering in hospital. Enrique Hernández, brother of Luis Hernández and photographer with the state news agency Venpres, had a bullet graze his abdomen, and was later hit in the head with a stone. He was treated for minor injuries. Jonathan Freitas, a photographer with the newspaper TalCual, was shot in the arm. Freitas was treated in a local hospital and then returned to work. "We are saddened by the loss of another journalistic colleague," said CJFE Executive Director Joel Ruimy. "We call on authorities to investigate immediately and thoroughly this killing and the attacks on the other three journalists." After resigning, Chávez - who had a history of bad relations with the Venezuelan media - turned himself over to the military. Leading army officials have appointed Pedro Carmona, president of the country's most powerful business group, to head a transitional government. CJFE is a non-profit, non-governmental association of journalists, writers, editors and others devoted to the promotion and protection of freedom of expression in Canada around the world. For more information, please contact Joel Ruimy, CJFE, Tel: 416 515 9622, Email: [email protected],

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