Name: Gabriel Vallés
Arbitrarily detained: September 5, 2014
Released: June 3, 2018
Place of confinement: El Helicoide
Occupation: Systems Engineer. Executive Director of the NGO “Operación Libertad”
Gabriel is a leader of the NGO “Operación Libertad” and is part of the generation of young people who began to protest against the Venezuelan regime in 2007. Already in 2010, he was arrested for carrying purses and banners in his purse for a demonstration and in 2011, he was accused of “generating anxiety with false information”. Soon after, he fled to Colombia along with Lorent Saleh.
There he was when the Colombian authorities, without an arrest warrant and violating international treaties, captured him and deported him to Venezuela.
He spent 26 months in La Tumba, being subjected to white torture: confined in a cell of 2×3 meters, without natural light, at very low temperatures, without communication and totally isolated from natural stimuli. Gabriel began making cartoons that illustrated the reality that he lived as a political prisoner.
The dictatorship tried to force both Vallés and Saleh to sign a letter admitting their guilt and giving names of opposition leaders, but both refused to give false testimony. He remained in El Helicoide until his release.
With more than 40 unjustified deferrals, Gabriel was victim of serious violations of due process. He turned 30 years of age behind bars, tortured and isolated. A hunger strike of 18 days allowed them to slightly improve the conditions of their confinement: they were allowed to have a watch to know the time and receive sun 4 hours a week.
On June 3, 2018, he was released along with other political prisoners by the National Constituent Assembly. Before his release, he was forced to appear before the Truth Commission. He should never have been behind bars.