People hold placards reading "Free Luis Carlos" outside the office of Venezuela’s attorney general in Caracas on March 12, 2019. The journalist was released later on March 12. (Reuters/Carlos Garcia Rawlins)

Journalist Luis Carlos Díaz released from detention, banned from leaving Venezuela

April 5, 2019 4:14 PM ET

Venezuelan authorities released radio journalist Luis Carlos Díaz on March 12, 2019, after detaining him for more than 24 hours, according to news reports.

Díaz, who holds dual citizenship with Spain and Venezuela, works for Unión Radio News in Caracas and also produces digital radio and video programs on social media with his wife, political commentator and activist Naky Soto, according to Madrid-based daily El País.

Family members lost contact with Díaz at around 5:30 p.m. on March 11, when he was detained by intelligence agents, according to news reports.

Around 2:30 a.m. on March 12, state security agents brought Díaz to his apartment in Caracas in handcuffs, according to those reports and Soto, who recounted the event in a video statement shared by the National Union of Press Workers on social media.

The agents raided the apartment, confiscated money and equipment including computers and phones, then left with Díaz still in custody, the news reports and Soto said.

When they raided the apartment, officials threatened several reporters on the scene at gunpoint, including National Union of Press Workers spokesperson Marco Díaz and journalists Lila Vanorio and Luz Mely Reyes, the union reported on Twitter.

After international outcry and demonstrations in support of Díaz in front of the public prosecutor's office in Caracas, authorities released him from detention late on March 12, according to a statement from the journalist upon his release posted on social media by U.S.-based network TV Venezuela.

Díaz was charged with "instigating crimes" and released on the condition that he would report to intelligence officials every week; he is also prohibited from leaving the country or speaking publicly about his detention, according to news reports.

One week before Diaz's detention, the influential pro-Maduro politician Diosdado Cabello showed a video clip of the journalist on the state media program "Con el Mazo Dando," and accused him of "sabotage," alleging that Díaz played a role in the electricity outages that left some parts of Venezuela without power for more than five days, according to news reports.

On March 29, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights urged the Maduro government to adopt precautionary measures to protect Díaz and his family, according to a statement from the commission.

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