Two activists and two Brazilian journalists held by Venezuelan authorities
Transparency International calls for the immediate release of two members of its Venezuelan chapter, Transparencia Venezuela, and two Brazilian journalists who were detained in Maracaibo, Zulia state in Venezuela.
The activists and the journalists were detained by the Venezuelan National Intelligence Service (SEBIN) on 11 February and their mobile phones were confiscated. The team was researching a report on a construction project managed by Odebrecht, the Brazilian firm at the centre of a large corruption scandal.
“Our activists and the journalists must be released immediately. They are only doing their jobs. Odebrecht has admitted it paid bribes to Venezuela. It is the role of civil society and the press to expose any wrongdoing,” said José Ugaz, Chair of Transparency International.
The construction of the bridge over Lake Maracaibo was started in 2005 by Odebrecht. Odebrecht recently reached a settlement with the US Department of Justice that exposed a financial network involving shell companies and several banks to funnel more than US$788 million in bribes to corrupt government officials and political parties and their leaders in 11 countries, including Venezuela.
The Transparencia Venezuela staff detained are Jésus Urbina and María José Tua. The Brazilian journalists are Leandro Stoliar and Gilson Souza from Rede Record.
This release was amended to add the names of the two Brazilian journalists who have been detained with the two members of Transparencia Venezuela.
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