Miami, July 8, 2019--Venezuelan online and radio journalist Braulio Jatar was formally released from house arrest today after receiving official notification from a criminal court in his home state of Nueva Esparta, according to local media and a statement Jatar gave to media outlets, which was posted on the Twitter account of his sister. As mandated by the court, Jatar - who was charged but not tried for money laundering -- is barred from leaving Nueva Esparta, and is required to present himself before that court every 15 days, according to his statement.
"We are relieved that Braulio Jatar has finally been released from house arrest, but he should never have been jailed and the absurd restrictions on his movements must be dropped," said CPJ Central and South America Program Coordinator Natalie Southwick. "If Venezuelan authorities had any credible evidence to support the charges against Jatar, they would have put him on trial. Instead he still faces criminal prosecution simply for reporting on protests."
Jatar's release was first announced by U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet on July 5, according to press reports. According to the reports, Bachelet had requested the release of Jatar and other high-profile prisoners during her June visit to Venezuela.