JUNE 29, 2005
Posted: August 9, 2005
Juan Carlos Neida, El Nuevo País
Neida, a photographer with the Caracas-based daily El Nuevo País, was beaten and abducted by unidentified attackers while he was on assignment.
Around 8 a.m., Neida went to the Caracas district of Las Mercedes to take photographs for an article about a motorcycle accident involving Eliécer Otaiza, director of the National Land Institute and former director of the Venezuelan intelligence agency, Neida told CPJ. Neida got into a taxi after taking a couple of pictures, but a jeep and another vehicle blocked his taxi’s path. Four men dragged him out of the taxi, beat him, and insulted him, he said. They took his digital camera and removed its memory disk. The men also took some money and his cell phone.
The men then handcuffed him, forced him into the jeep, and took him around Caracas until they released him about eight hours later in an isolated area east of the city. He said police found him close to a road, removed his handcuffs, and took him to the police station, where he gave an account of the assault.
Neida said he tried to show his attackers his press credentials, but they punched and kicked him and said he didn’t have the right to take photographs. One of the attackers dropped a badge that identified him as a military intelligence agent, Neida said.
Neida said the next day he tried to file a complaint with the Attorney General’s Office but wasn’t allowed to enter its building. He tried again the next day, this time with his supervisor, but to no avail, he said.