A Venezuelan court freed on parole Monday publisher Leocenis Garcia, who went on a hunger strike 13 days after being arrested in September as a result of his magazine publishing a photomontage in which the heads of female Cabinet members were superimposed on the bodies of cabaret dancers.
His lawyer, Pedro Aranguren, told Efe the court ruled that the publisher and main shareholder of newsweekly 6to Poder should be freed pending trial.
“This was a rectification under pressure from the media and the critical journalism that still exists in this country,” the attorney said, adding that putting Garcia behind bars “for publishing a caricature” was a “barbarity.”
The publisher turned himself in on Aug. 30, the day after his arrest was ordered on charges of defamation and instigating hate crimes based on the issue 6to Poder put out with the controversial photomontage on the cover under the title “Las Poderosas de la Revolution” (The Powerful Women of the Revolution).
Aranguren said that under the ruling Garcia must report to the authorities every eight days and must not leave the country, give statements to the media about the case, or take part in political demonstrations.
He said that when Garcia is released from jail he will be taken to a clinic for a checkup of his health following his nearly two-week fast.
Garcia was taken to the Military Hospital on Nov. 16, a week after he began his hunger strike demanding the withdrawal of the charges against him and the resignation of the justice officials responsible.
Garcia’s arrest has been slammed by the Venezuelan opposition and Catholic Church, as well as by domestic and international organizations representing journalists.