April 1st, 2010
05:09 PM ET

Journalist critical of Chavez convicted in Venezuela

A Venezuelan journalist who has been a vocal critic of President Hugo Chavez has been convicted of fraud, the government-run news service reported.

Human rights groups and Chavez critics accuse the government of using trumped-up charges to try to silence Gustavo Azocar, a well-known critic.

Azocar was sentenced to 2 1/2 years in prison Friday, state-operated ABN news said. Azocar's lawyer, Pedro Rey, said he expected to appeal.

Azocar, a radio and TV reporter and blogger, in 1988 challenged the
government's claim that 14 people killed along the border with Colombia were guerrillas. He reported that they were peasants killed in a government training mission. His reports led the Inter-American Commission for Human Rights to investigate and order the government to pay restitution to family members.

The journalist became a vocal Chavez critic after Chavez came to power in 1999.

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Filed under: Venezuela • World
soundoff (One Response)
  1. matthew

    This report makes it seem like Azocar was convicted for fraud related to his work as a journalist. In fact he was charged with fraud relating to his vast business dealings – forgery and illegally profiting from a State contract.

    The judge upheld two charges but threw out the two others. It should really also have been noted that the Azocar will be a free man tonight because he has already served that amount of time in prison. He will be out on probation.

    April 2, 2010 at 6:07 pm | Report abuse |