The Interim Government of Venezuela, through the Embassy of Venezuela in the United States, alerted other States, international organizations, human rights organizations and the press of the critical situation in which the Venezuelan political prisoners find themselves. To date, 382 prisoners have been deprived of their liberty for political reasons. This alert is due to the death of Erick Hechegaray, one of the political prisoners detained in SEBIN, which occurred last August 7th, as a result of COVID-19.
Additionally, several political prisoners present evident symptoms of contagion in the SEBIN detention centers, among them El Helicoide. We are especially concerned about political prisoners who have health preconditions that would potentially amplify the lethal risks of COVID-19.
The Human Rights Observatory of the National Assembly warned on August 6th about the conditions of overcrowding in the detention centers that prevent the respective social distancing, the absence of minimum health conditions for frequent hand washing and the lack of natural ventilation. All this significantly increases the potential for contagion, making it imminent for political prisoners, among whom are deputies, political activists, members of the team of Acting President Juan Guaidó, students and military personnel.
The embassy wanted to emphasize that this is another merciless abuse by the regime in its long history of systematic violation of human rights, with special cruelty to political prisoners, in contravention of Article 43 of the Constitution which states that “The State shall protect the lives of persons who are deprived of their liberty. In 2019 alone, according to the Presidential Commissioner for Human Rights, 149 prisoners died in the custody of the regime.”
The diplomatic office explained that silence would only deepen the systematic pattern of violations, only this time it occurs with a massive risk of contagion with highly lethal outcome probabilities for those who have given up their liberty in defense of Venezuela’s democracy. That is why we ask you to make the demand your own:
1. Verification of health conditions of political prisoners through reliable humanitarian organizations.
2. The immediate transfer to care centers for those who are sick.
3. That they be granted humanitarian measures, and especially their immediate release, as demanded for all political prisoners by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights of the UN since the beginning of the COVID 19 pandemic.
Estamos trabajando con autoridades de #EEUU, a distintos niveles, para que todos nuestros hermanos venezolanos que han están detenidos por razones migratorias sean liberados y continúen sus procesos migratorios sin ser deportados; manteniendo el foco: salir del dictador Maduro. pic.twitter.com/hkaASj7cpg
— CARLOS VECCHIO (@carlosvecchio) March 4, 2020