Billy Six, a German journalist and documentalist, served more than a month in the cells of the headquarters of the Bolivarian National Intelligence Service (SEBIN) in Caracas, for allegedly photographing the president of Venezuela, Nicolás Maduro, at a public ceremony .
The reporter, arrested on 17 November in the western state of Falcón, is accused of espionage, violation of security zones and rebellion. His trial will be carried out by a military court, an irregularity that is frequently applied to civilians during the Maduro regime. "He entered Venezuela from the Colombian city of Cucuta, made several coverings, including a rally with Maduro, which is where he takes a few photos very close to the president and therefore accuse him of violating safety margins", explains Carlos Correa, director of the NGO Espacio Público.
The journalist was held incommunicado during the first days of his detention. That is why on 13 December he started a hunger strike to request a private lawyer and to communicate with the German embassy and his parents. In a letter published by Espacio Público, the reporter said he was "happy" because he had "better conditions" for detention than in the Middle East and Africa and thanked him for medical attention to heal himself from a dengue he ended October, but denounced that the results of the medical tests were not allowed and that an agent of the political police might have stolen his bank card in Venezuela, in addition to being deprived of his rights.
The German embassy in the South American country hardly contacted the journalist last Friday. "Billy has ended his hunger strike after talking to diplomats in Germany, but he has not been able to speak directly to his parents, he has always done so through a third party, it is isolated, his arrest was late, he had been arrested for many days. when we found out, "says Correa.
The concern for their safety was caused by the death of two prisoners in state arrest, city council president Fernando Albán and former president of Petróleos de Venezuela, Nelson Martínez. Six makes a contribution to the right-wing media Junge Freiheit and Deutschland Magazine and he himself had the "Indiana Jones of Journalism & # 39; on his YouTube channel for his raids in countries with conflicts or major crises. At the end of 2012, the documentary filmmaker was detained for a few weeks in Syria.
A few months ago he had recorded the exodus on the border between Colombia and Venezuela and a year ago he was photographed together with soldiers who guarded the elections of mayors of the Caribbean, but in October he moved to other provinces to continue his journalistic investigations. to put.
With him, three communicators have been detained in the South American country for alleged crimes against the state. Others arrested on the orders of the government are Braulio Jatar, director of the portal Confidential report and photojournalist Jesús Medina Ezaine.
The Committee for the Protection of Journalists places Venezuela as the country with the most journalists in prison in Latin America, while Reporters Without Borders (RSF) puts it in its annual report on the 143rd place of the 180 that the current world classification of Press Freedom
Emmanuel Colombié, director of the Latin America Office of RSF, demanded his immediate publication a week ago. "The treatment of Billy Six is unworthy and outrageous," he said. The director has asked the Venezuelan authorities to present the evidence presented to the journalist and to release him so that he can prepare his defense. "On the other hand, it is inconceivable that the Venezuelan state has a military court assessing the journalist, which is a serious violation of national law and the international obligations of the country, and a citizen does not have to appear before a military court," he added.