Attorney General Luisa Ortega Diaz caused a stir yesterday at the United Nations Human Rights Committee in Geneva yesterday when she presented a letter allegedly written by jailed judge Maria Lourdes Afiuni. In the letter, Afiuni said that contrary to previous reports, she had never been raped while in prison.
Afiuni was arrested and jailed in 2009 at the request of Hugo Chavez, after one of her rulings upset him. Afiuni had released a prisoner who had been awaiting trial for longer than Venezuelan law allowed.
Today, one of Afiuni’s lawyers, Thelma Fernandez, said unequivocally that the letter Diaz presented at the U.N. meeting last night was a forgery. Fernandez explained:
Judge Afiuni has never signed [the document in question] saying that she had not been the victim of torture or rape during her incarceration. That document does not exist, which means that Luisa Ortega Diaz has presented a forged document, which is a crime under Venezuelan law.
Fernandez also spoke directly on Diaz’s conduct in Geneva, saying:
Luisa Ortega Diaz thinks that she’s in Venezuela, where she can lie to incriminate innocent Venezuelans.
Afiuni Refutes Diaz’s Document
Afiuni spoke before a judge today to refute the claim made by the Attorney General yesterday that she had denied being raped and tortured while in prison. Thelma Fernandez was at the hearing, and told the press that Afiuni explained “how [authorities] destroyed her vagina, anus, and bladder while [in prison], and that officers from the Ministry of the Interior raped her”.
More specifically, Fernandez explained that Afiuni said:
She said that she was kicked by a National Guard [officer] which caused damage to a quarter of her breast. Moreover, she said that they placed some inmates in an adjacent cell that she herself had sentenced to prison, and was the victim of beatings which no one did anything to stop. She confessed that on several occassions, [authorities] poured gasoline in her cell.
Fernandez also reminded reporters that aside from being physically abused, Afiuni has also been the victim of psychological torture. On one occasion, she was made to strip and undergo a gynecological exam in front of “over 20 National Guard officers”.
Afiuni requested that she be allowed to travel to Geneva to personality tell the United Nations that she did not write the letter Diaz presented before the Human Rights Committee. The request was denied.
Jorge Rodriguez Gets T.V. Show
The mayor of the Libertador municipality, Jorge Rodriguez, will star in his own television show, joining Nicolas Maduro, Cilia Flores, Diosdado Cabello and other high-profile PSUV members who already have their own programs. The announcement came on today’s edition of Maduro’s show, En Contacto Con Maduro.
Maduro announced that the name of Rodriguez’s show will be El Divan Politico. He explained:
I want to announce that very soon, we will be happy [to have] a new analysis, debate show, [a show] that will defend the truth through a scientific lens: Jorge Rodriguez’s El Divan Politico. It will soon be on the air, El Divan Politico, so that Jorge can transmit his scientific knowledge and understand many things: hallucinations, obsessions. Be able to understand things in concrete terms, in reality.
Although it’s not exactly clear what exactly Rodriguez’s show will be about, he is a trained psychiatrist.
Diosdado Cabello’s show is called Con El Mazo Dando, and Cilia Flores’ is called Con Cilia en Familia.
U.S., Cuba to Re-Open Embassies
The United States and Cuba announced today that they would restart diplomatic relations, and would move ahead with the reopening embassies in their respective capitals. A White House official, speaking under condition of anonymity, said that the formal announcement would come tomorrow.
The United States and Cuba broke off diplomatic relations in 1961.
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