Belda to answer threat charges
Sunday, February 13, 2005 12.00am
Vicente Belda has been told to appear before a Spanish court after allegedly making a death threat a
PIC BY TDWSPORT.COM Comunitat Valenciana team manager Vicente Belda has been told that he will have to answer an accusation of threatening behaviour. Belda will be called to appear before a court in his town of residence, Cocentaina, after a complaint was made against him by AS journalist Juan Antonio Gutierrez, who has accused Belda of making a death threat. The incident happened last week in a caf in Palmanova, during the Majorca Challenge. Belda is alleged to have told Gutierrez, "You're dead, Guti," and made a shooting gesture to his head. Gutierrez was the journalist who broke the story alleging systematic doping with Belda's former Kelme team made by ex-rider Jesus Manzano. Comunitat Valenciana team boss Jos Luis Aznar has told AS that he will not be taking any action against Belda until he has heard all sides of the incident. "There were lots of our team members there and lots of other people as well and I think what happened will become clear," said Aznar. One side of what happened has already been given by L'Equipe journalist Philippe Le Gars, who was one of the witnesses who backed up Gutierrez's version of events. Le Gars said that he, Gutierrez and four other people went into the caf for a coffee and, seeing Belda, moved to the far side of the establishment in order to reduce the possibility of an incident taking place. "After about five or 10 minutes we saw that Belda, with about 10 other people, and he was talking to each of them and gesturing with his finger," said Le Gars. "They began to make obscene gestures. We began to get a bit worried and realised that if Guti was left alone anything might happen. They began to shout insults. Belda was shouting about how much he hated Guti and several other members of the group joined in." Le Gars said that Gutierrez did not respond, and the group of journalists left the caf. "At that moment Belda got more agitated. He put his finger to his head as if it were a pistol and said to Guti: 'Now you're dead.' We stayed with him because we were afraid what might happen. "It was sad, because if Belda has anyone to reproach it is Jesus Manzano. Gutierrez only did his job as a journalist in reporting Manzano's words. If people are going to start threatening journalists when they are doing their jobs then where are we going to end up? Belda's threats worried me. He's got no right to do that. It's surprising that Vicente Belda acted that way because he has asked for his team to get an invitation to the Tour de France and he ought to behave properly."
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