The Venezuelan bishops expressed concern for the health of reporter Leocenis Garcia, who has been on a hunger strike for more than week in protest of his imprisonment.
“We pray that this situation be resolved without injury that good sense would prevail among all those involved in this case,” the bishops' committee on justice and peace said Nov. 16.
Garcia, editor and journalist for the newspaper 6to Poder, began a hunger strike on Nov. 9 to protest what he says is political persecution for criticizing President Hugo Chavez.
In a statement signed by Archbishop Roberto Luckert of Coro, the committee encouraged Venezuelan officials to “thoughtfully consider the reasons for the hunger strike.”
“The loss of a human life would be a very serious matter,” the committee said, adding that there is no such thing as “crimes of opinion” under Venezuelan law.
“We join our voices to those of the defenders of the editor of the newspaper 6to Poder, who have denounced the violation of his human rights during the hunger strike in this situation which Catholic Social teaching would consider to be very grave.”
In its statement, the committee said it was moved to speak out for the sake of “reconciliation, peace and justice” and to “safeguard the personal and family integrity of this citizen, so that, taking into account the procedures contemplated in our Constitution, he be granted due process.”