The Report of the Observatory of Human Rights of the National Assembly expresses that in Venezuela 162 political-military prisoners are being held by Maduro’s regime and are being subjected to torture and cruel treatment.
This was reported by the President of the Observatory of Human Rights of the National Assembly, Adriana Pichardo, in a press conference held online, together with the President of the Special Commission of Justice and Peace of the National Assembly, Delsa Solórzano, who gave details of the report of the Fact-Finding Mission of the UN Human Rights Council.
On taking the floor, Congresswoman Pichardo explained that the Human Rights Observatory was created on July 17th, 2020, with the aim of documenting and making visible the human rights violations to which the Venezuelan population has been subjected, and creating a historical memory of these events, which can serve as an input for national and international bodies.
She showed a graph of the political-military prisoners in Venezuela that total 162 and reflects that a growing curve, where the protests are intensified with the increase of detainees, the highest point of detentions is in 2019 and decreases in 2020 due to the pandemic.
“We highlight 2019 where you observe the arbitrary detention of 65 military. Separated by military rank political-military detainees now are: 40.74% sergeants; 27.78% lieutenants; 9.6 colonels; 8.64 captains; 6.79 generals, 4.94 are majors; 1.23 lieutenant colonels and one soldier representing 0.62 percent,” he added.
She said that as for the component where the 162 military prisoners victims of the regime belong: 67 are National Guard; 66 Army; 18 Air Force; 7 Navy and 4 people who are not yet known to which military component they belong. “95.68% are men and the rest are women. It is important to know where they were apprehended and 56.17% were apprehended in the Capital District”.
She pointed out that the report of the UN Independent International Fact-Finding Mission for Venezuela reflects what the Observatory and the deputies of the National Assembly have been denouncing to the world for years.
“I wish to thank and make note of the courage of the victims, with atrocious testimonies. These are not only figures of those kidnapped, they are the families, they are also victims of human rights violations. Behind these 162 tortured people, there is a violation of due process. We are going to continue raising our voices and denouncing these facts.
The Mission Report directly accuses those responsible
For her part, Representative Delsa Solórzano explained the difference between this report and the rest that have been presented over the years, highlighting that the document of the High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet is limited to the description of the facts without determining those responsible. In the case of the report of the UN Independent International Fact-Finding Mission for Venezuela it is specified the responsibility for the human rights violations and crimes against humanity committed in our country.
“It refers in the first place to what has to do with the persecution and violation of human rights of the parliamentarians and their families. More than 100 deputies are persecuted or subjected to harassment. The report establishes from its first pages a link between corruption and human rights violations, highlighting that the main reasons for carrying out these crimes are to receive economic benefits, that is, corruption”.
Congresswoman Solórzano points out that in the Fact-Finding Mission report it expresses that the parliamentary immunity of the congressmen was illegally lifted, because it was done through the Supreme Court of Justice, when that is the sole responsibility of the National Assembly.
Solórzano also stated that the report points out the integral role of the intelligence services in crimes against humanity. It shows arbitrary detentions of opponents or critics of the regime that were carried out systematically.
She said that Sebin and the DGCIM are pointed out as two of the main organs of repression against Venezuelans. They identify a pattern in which Sebin used activities in flagrante delicto to carry out the detention, in which people were taken as witnesses and not as defendants (and later left in detention).
She said that the Mission expresses that the constitution has been violated through different mechanisms among them, the illegal designation of the current magistrates of the TSJ. “The report specifically details how the outgoing NA of 2015 designated principal and substitute judges to try to summarily end the Assembly that took over in 2015, and also details the characteristics of the National Constituent Assembly, all in order to delegitimize the legitimate National Assembly”.
Solórzano added that it is also expressed in the Mission’s report that the TSJ considered that the members of the NA are in a permanent state of flagrante delicto that is, in contempt, which means that at any moment a deputy can be detained, which allows the officials of the DGCIM and Sebin to give no explanation (or cause) at the time of the detention.
She pointed out that, in the case of Roberto Marrero, the Mission document indicates that he is the living example of a fabrication of evidence against a citizen. “The former director of the Sebin said that he had received direct orders from Nicolas Maduro to plant weapons in his house, at the same time that he declared that it was Maduro who decided who was arrested, released and tortured,” Solórzano indicated.
She stated that the Mission’s report refers to 7 cases of sexual violence, threatening the detainees even to rape their partners. “Witnesses who were in ‘El Helicoide’ mainly in women’s cells, between 2014 and 2018 declared to have heard torture during interrogations”.
Delsa said the report describes in detail what ‘La Tumba’ (detention center called The Grave) is like, with 2×3 meter cells, no air, no natural ventilation, 15 meters underground.
“DGCIM personnel, under the direction of Colonel Franco Quintero, participated in the detention of Captain Luis De la Sotta. The personnel who were under the direction of Colonel Quintero and later Colonel Hannover Guerrero participated in cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment”.
Solórzano stressed that the report directly points to those responsible. It is also noted in the Mission’s report that former Captain Rafael Acosta Arévalo died under torture by the DGCIM in the presence of a judge who did not carry out the arrest of his torturers in flagrante delicto.
“In addition, the commission has the case of a young woman who is no longer in the country and who was forced to ingest more than 10 liters of chlorine. She is a relative of a political prisoner and was almost killed”.
Finally, she manifested that this commission made a series of recommendations, which call upon the international community to collaborate with the situation of Venezuela before the International Criminal Court.
“We are not going to give up, we want to achieve a democratic country and justice for the victims, we do not want a country of vengeance”, she concluded.