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Montevideo, October 16th 2018 - 18:45 UTC

Conditions in Venezuelan prisons are “beyond monstrous” claims UN human rights office

Thursday, October 11th 2018 - 08:58 UTC
Full article 17 comments
“Overcrowding is rife” and the infrastructure is infested with rats and insects. Not all detainees have access to natural light, and food and drinking water is limited “Overcrowding is rife” and the infrastructure is infested with rats and insects. Not all detainees have access to natural light, and food and drinking water is limited
According to OHCHR, 59 Colombians were picked up in a security operation in 2016 and are now sharing a single cell at a facility in Caracas According to OHCHR, 59 Colombians were picked up in a security operation in 2016 and are now sharing a single cell at a facility in Caracas

Conditions in Venezuela’s prisons are “beyond monstrous”, the UN human rights office, OHCHR, said, before calling for an independent and transparent investigation into the death of a leading political opponent of the Government. Issuing the alert in Geneva, OHCHR spokesperson Ravina Shamdasani said that there were specific concerns for the well-being of 59 Colombian nationals, who’ve been held for more than two years without being charged.

They were picked up in a security operation in 2016 and are now sharing a single cell at a facility in the country’s capital, Caracas, Ms Shamdasani said.

“The 59 were accused of being Colombian paramilitaries but to date, no evidence or charges have been brought against them,” Ms Shamdasani explained. “In November 2017, a Venezuelan judge had ruled that they should be unconditionally released. However, they remain in detention.”

Asked about Fernando Alban, a critic of the government whose death was announced on Monday at the headquarters of the country’s intelligence services, Ms Shamdasani confirmed the need for an independent, transparent investigation to clarify reports that he had jumped to his death from the 10th floor.

“There are so many different reports, and quite a lot of speculation on exactly what happened,” Ms Shamdasani said. “On whether Mr Alban committed suicide, whether he was thrown, whether he was ill-treated, which is why we need an independent, transparent investigation to clarify the circumstances of his death.”

On the subject of the Colombian detainees, Ms Shamdasani explained that the men were rounded up during so-called Operations for the Liberation of the People (OLP), which the Venezuelan Government had said were designed to break up criminal gangs and bring criminals to justice.

Calling on the authorities to comply with the judge's ruling and free the Colombians, Ms Shamdasani underlined the dire conditions in the country’s prisons.

“Overcrowding is rife,” she said. “The infrastructure is infested with rats and insects. Not all detainees have access to natural light. And in many detention centers across the country, detainees have limited access to food and water, including drinking water.”

The deteriorating human rights situation in Venezuela was detailed in a recent UN report. Published in June, it highlighted the accelerating erosion of the rule of law amid unprecedented mass demonstrations and the excessive use of force in security operations.

Allegations of extrajudicial killings linked to OLP raids first surfaced in July 2015, the report found, after an operation took place in one of the poorest and most violent neighborhoods in Caracas, Cota 905, in which 14 people died and 134 were arrested.

Citing information from the Attorney General’s Office, the OHCHR report noted that between July 2015 and March 2017, 505 people were killed in OLPs, including four women and 24 children.

Citing civil society records, the UN human rights office report noted that “at least 570 people, including 35 children, were arbitrarily detained” in Venezuela between August 2017 and April 2018.

 

Categories: Politics, Venezuela.

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  • Chicureo

    Patrick Edgar

    Welcome back! Unlike yourself, Terrence Hill and Enrique Massot have lacked the rich intellectual content contributions to this news site that covers many subjects throughout the Americas. (Especially Terrence needs a lot of support.)

    came to power, people cheered because he was going to help the poor and make everyone equal. But governments can't plan things efficiently without the prices and constant individual decision-making that free markets provide. The result in Cuba was economic stagnation and horrible loss of freedom.

    Venezuela voted in Hugo Chavez when he said that “capitalism is the realm of injustice” and promised wealth would be distributed equally. When he came to power, people cheered because he was going to help the poor and make everyone equal. The country he took over has the largest petroleum reserves in the world yet his country's oil production fell over 60%. But when there was no more money left to take from his own state owned petroleum company, he did what many governments do: He printed more. That's caused inflation over 1 million percent. When business owners raised prices to try to keep up, Chavez and his successor Maduro just seized many of them. People now wait in long lines to buy a scarce small bag of rice or rare roll of toilet paper. Now many people are very unhappy. An astounding amount of people have fled the country due to the economic collapse. Some countrymen have proposed an overthrow of the government and Maduro has been less than friendly to his opposition...

    Again, welcome back

    Posted 5 days ago +1
  • Patrick Edgar

    Now explain this to me;
    If this IS NOT a British interest political propaganda to do with undermining any South American government that would not be friendly or oppose the expansionist usurpation policy of Britain through the human shield that the Falkland Islands are, against Argentina's rightful claim to these islands, and all it supposedly seeks is economic area journalism ridding on the unrequited coat tails of Mercosur (as it is not actually part of Mercosur) ...what the h**l does it care what is happening in Venezuelan prisons?

    Posted 5 days ago 0
  • Jack Bauer

    PE,
    Of course, “undermining” a South American government, that is a model of democracy for the world to copy....If I were you, I'd get on a plane and take advantage of this wonderful democracy before some foreign power conspires to turn it into a socialist, populist and authoritarian regime...forcing 100s of thousands of venezuelans to flee to neighbouring Colombia and Brazil...that WOULD be nasty...

    Posted 4 days ago 0
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