Name: Vasco Da Costa
Arbitrarily detained: July 26, 2014
Place of confinement: Santa Ana Prison
Occupation: Political scientist
The first time Vasco Da Costa was arrested, he was in the El Paraíso sector, Caracas. It was July 26, 2014, a year of intense government protests. At that time, officials of the Bolivarian National Intelligence Service (Sebin) implicated him with alleged terrorist acts to destabilize the government.
In addition to terrorism, a court indicted him without evidence on charges of conspiracy to commit a crime, illegal manufacture of explosives and concealment of ammunition. He spent three years in detention, of which most spent in El Rodeo III and his last months of detention in Tocuyito, along with common prisoners.
His relatives and lawyers repeatedly denounced the torture and degrading treatment to which he was subjected. He suffered solitary confinement (white torture) for more than 50 days in a room without windows or ventilation and was forced to watch torture sessions against other political prisoners, while he was tortured with electric shocks.
Again behind bars
The political scientist was released on October 6, 2017 for his health condition. However, on April 16, 2018 the Sebin searched him again. This time, the officials broke into his home, beat him and without arrest warrant they took him along with other people. Computers, silver props and food were stolen from his house.
His family reported that they hung him “like a pig” and they shaved him, leaving marks all over his body. On April 20, a court again ordered him to be deprived of liberty, this time for treason, instigation of rebellion, insult to the National Armed Forces (FAN) and theft of objects belonging to the FAN. There is no evidence linking him to these accusations.
Despite having returned to prison and having suffered years of torture, their families remain firm: “He will not sign any document to be released, as has been done by another group of political prisoners”. Da Costa refuses to go before the Truth Commission if he’s released.
Vasco Da Costa belongs to the Venezuelan Nationalist Movement. His position against the Nicolás Maduro regime has always been critical and public through social networks. Today, they make him pay for crimes he did not commit in Santa Ana prison, in Táchira state.