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Venezuela expels West Hollywood filmmaker

June 05, 2013|By Mery Mogollon
  • A handout photo provided by Venezuela's Ministry of Interior and Justice shows American filmmaker Tim Tracy, center, Wednesday as he is being expelled from Caracas, Venezuela.
A handout photo provided by Venezuela's Ministry of Interior and… (Ministry of Interior and…)

CARACAS, Venezuela -- Interior Minister Miguel Rodriguez Torres of Venezuela confirmed Wednesday that West Hollywood filmmaker Timothy Tracy had been expelled from the country earlier in the day, six weeks after he was arrested on espionage charges.

Tracy was put on an American Airlines flight bound for Miami.

The documentary filmmaker was arrested April 24 by operatives in the SEBIN intelligence agency on accusations of "gathering information" including video and photographic images for what Torres described as the April Connection, an alleged conspiracy to overthrow the government.

The alleged conspiracy included youths affiliated with opposition political parties such as Justice First and Popular Will.

"The method of this person was to mix with violent sectors of the right," Torres said. Torres said the arrest after an investigation and on "instructions of President Nicolas Maduro."

President Obama had described as the espionage charges lodged against the 35-year-old filmmaker as "ridiculous."

The Associated Press reported that Tracy's release was secured with the help of former U.S. Rep. William Delahunt, who has long worked to improve often strained U.S.-Venezuelan ties and was hired by Tracy's family as an attorney in the case.

“He's been informally advising us since pretty much the onset and we retained him last week,” Tracy's sister, Tiffany Klaasen, said of Delahunt, a member of the U.S. delegation at the March funeral of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.

Both she and Delahunt also credited the U.S. State Department.

Tracy's release came hours before Secretary of State John F. Kerry was scheduled to meet with his Venezuelan counterpart on the sidelines of the Organization of American States gathering in Guatemala in hopes of easing strains in U.S.-Venezuelan relations.

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