The United Nations Committee on Torture released an advanced copy of a report today in which it expresses serious concern over the state of human rights in the country. In the document, the Committee expresses worry over the allegations of torture made by Venezuelans arrested in connection to the protests that took place earlier this year. The report calls on the government to:
… guarantee that all the complaints and cases of torture and mistreatment of detainees are investigated in a timely, exhaustive and independent manner.
More specifically, the report cited the lack of judicial independence as an area of particular concern. It also noted allegations of torture against protesters ranging from electrical shock and burns to rape and sexual threats.
The full, advanced and unedited document (in Spanish) can be found here.
Uribana Director Arrested Following Deaths
Following a week of protests and deaths at the Uribana prison near Barquisimeto, Lara state, the prison’s director – Julio Cesar Perez – was arrested today and charged in connection with the deaths of at least 13 inmates in Uribana this week. The Observatorio Venezolano de Prisiones, an NGO that monitors prisons in the country, maintains that 35 inmates have died in Uribana this week.
While officials have said that the deaths occurred after the inmates willingly consumed harmful chemicals, family members have said that at least some of the inmates died after drinking water provided to them by prison officials.
First Lady’s Bodyguard Murdered
32 year old Dennis Cuello, a SEBIN officer and one of First Lady’s Cilia Flores’ personal bodyguards, was murdered during a robbery early this morning. According to El Nacional, a group of armed individuals entered Cuello’s home near Maracay at around 4:00 AM this morning with the intention of robbing it. Cuello’s was awake at the time, and the robbers subdued him and four of his family members.
Cuello’s father-in-law, Juan Romero, said that Cuello, his wife and daughter were tied up and tortured. Then,
… when they found out that he was a police officer, one of the men told another, “kill him”.
The robbers then took Bs. 15,000 from Cuello’s home.