Political Prisoners in Venezuela, Newsletter Nº 14

CDH-UCAB: Evidence of torture was hidden

El Universal
May 4, 2015

At least 10 strategies were used by the bodies of the Venezuelan public power to knowingly cover evidence of cruel treatment or torture, and/or prevent timely denunciation during the arrests in the context of anti-government demonstrations in 2014.

The remarks were made by the Human Rights Center, Andrés Bello Catholic University (CDH-UCAB) in a report entitled «No trail shall remain.» The report documents the violation of the right of personal safety during last year’s demonstrations and arrests resulting in at least 856 injured people.

The strategies used by the Venezuelan State included incommunicado detainees; transport of injured people to military institutions and hospitals; pressure applied to victims; use of public defense to avoid complaints; omissions by judges during the arraignment; conversion of victims into offenders; mixing up of forensic physical examination and medical assessment on the detention site; removal of evidence of mistreatment and torture, and pressure applied to examining doctors.

Tintori and Mitzy de Ledezma visit Brazil to denounce HR violations

El Universal
May 4, 2015

Lilian Tintori, the wife of detained dissenter Leopoldo López, landed in Brazil on Monday, along with the wife of Caracas Metropolitan Mayor Antonio Ledezma, in order to denounce irregularities committed by the Venezuelan Executive Office against political prisoners, and human right violations against all Venezuelans.

«We are in Brazil to denounce once again the regime’s abuses: more than 80 political prisoners, including opposition leaders, Venezuelan students, who are behind the unfair bars of Nicolás Maduro for dissenting; kidnapped public powers, inflation, shortages, impunity. Venezuela is on the brink of a humanitarian crisis. Human rights are not respected, and the anxiety about finding food, medicines, and security on the streets, oppresses Venezuelan families each day,» Tintori noted as she arrived in the airport.

Tintori hopes to get the support of Brazilian democrats. Tintori and Mitzy de Ledezma will visit several Brazilian cities; also, they will meet with Venezuelan residents in Brazil and several political personalities and human right advocates.

Ex-leaders demand jailed Venezuela politicians be freed

bbc.com
April 30, 2015

A group of former world leaders has sent an open letter to the Venezuelan government expressing its concern «for the difficult social, economic and political situation» in Venezuela.

The group also urged the release of opposition leaders who were jailed for allegedly inciting violence.

The letter was signed by 26 ex-leaders from Latin America, Europe, Africa and Asia. Venezuela has not yet responded to their appeal.

The signatories are members of the Madrid Club, an independent organisation made up of former heads of state and government.

They include former Brazilian President Henrique Cardoso, the ex-leader of Mexico, Felipe Calderon, as well as former Polish President Aleksander Kwasniewski, Dutch ex-Prime Minister Ruud Lubbers and the former president of Nigeria, Olusegun Obasanjo. Read more

Arbitraries Detentions since Feb 4th, 2014

3718 detentions
39 jailed for protesting

Source: Foro Penal
May 5, 2015

Mayor of Caracas Recovering at Home after Operation

Latin America Herald Tribune
May 2, 2015

The metropolitan mayor of Caracas and opposition leader Antonio Ledezma, accused of “conspiring” against the Nicolas Maduro government, is recovering at home where he remains in police custody after a surgical operation, his wife Mitzy Capriles said.

“Antonio is recovering and is immensely comforted by all your love,” the mayor’s wife told a group of supporters who gathered outside the mayor’s residence to celebrate the 60th birthday of the politician, who, after leaving the clinic where he underwent surgery, was taken to his home.

“Today (Ledezma) completes 60 years always at the service of Venezuela, and he will continue fighting for freedom and democracy in our country,” she said. Read more

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Discarding Democracy: A Return to the Iron Fist

Freedom House
May 1, 2015

In a year marked by an explosion of terrorist violence, autocrats’ use of more brutal tactics, and Russia’s invasion and annexation of a neighboring country’s territory, the state of freedom in 2014 worsened significantly in nearly every part of the world.

For the ninth consecutive year, Freedom in the World, Freedom House’s annual report on the condition of global political rights and civil liberties, showed an overall decline. Indeed, acceptance of democracy as the world’s dominant form of government—and of an international system built on democratic ideals—is under greater threat than at any point in the last 25 years.

Even after such a long period of mounting pressure on democracy, developments in 2014 were exceptionally grim. The report’s findings show that nearly twice as many countries suffered declines as registered gains, 61 to 33, with the number of gains hitting its lowest point since the nine-year erosion began. Read more

NGO denounces violation of freedom of speech in lines in Venezuela

El Universal
May 5, 2015

Venezuelan NGO Espacio Público claimed that lines to buy foodstuffs and medicines are a breeding ground to restrict freedom of speech. The body also stated 17 local journalists and citizens (21% of the victims recorded by the NGO in January-March) were attacked or insulted in the first quarter of 2015 as they reported the issue of shortages in the country.

This kind of aggressions stand for 29% of violations against the free flow of ideas and opinions, the body said in a report issued on Monday, according to which local police agents and military officers topped the list of those hindering reporters’ work, followed by storekeepers.

Espacio Público highlighted that intimidation, aggression and censorship also ranked high in the list of abuses against freedom of speech in 2014. Read more

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