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.