The El Helicoide mutiny entered its second day today, with contradicting reports on the situation in the infamous underground prison adding to an already chaotic situation.
While attorney general Tarek William Saab claimed earlier today that the situation in the prison had “returned to normal”, as of the writing of this post (6:00 PM EST) the prisoners are still in control of La Tumba, the underground jail of the SEBIN in the El Helicoide building.
Some 250 inmates of the prison staged a mutiny yesterday after a political prisoner named Gregory Sanabria was brutally beaten by SEBIN agents.
Daniel Ceballos, one of the political prisoners held in El Helicoide, released the following image this morning along with some statistics about the prisoners found in the jail. Ceballos is the man in blue in the right of the picture. Below, the list along with my translation:
11 non-prisoners with unfulfilled release orders
4 kidnapped prisoners who have never appeared before a judge
4 prisoners awaiting psychological examination
9 prisoners who have been granted bail, but whom the SEBIN refuses to relese
46 prisoners whose transfer orders are being arbitrarily ignored by the SEBIN
59 political prisoners who have not had a trial and are not being transported [to other prisons]
4 underage prisoners
3 prisoners with [extraction order; I think this is a judicial order to have the prisoners removed from the prison].
Early in the morning, the relatives of some of the prisoners attempted to enter El Helicoide in the hopes of finding out information about their loved ones, but were prevented from nearing the SEBIN headquarters by National Bolivarian Police officers.
The video below captured some of the scenes outside of the SEBIN headquarters earlier today:
Authorities Enter Jail, Remove Non-Political Prisoners
At 5:01 PM, Lorent Saleh–another political prisoner held in the jail–tweeted the following message indicating that the authorities were entering the jail to quell the mutiny:
HELP!!!!!!!!! THEY ARE GETTING IN THEY ARE GETTING IN!!!!!
21 minutes later, another political prisoner–Jose Vicente Garcia–posted a video message confirming that the authorities had in fact re-entered the prison, and that they had removed some of the prisoners from the premises. Garcia also said that Daniel Ceballos, the former mayor of San Cristobal, is currently negotiating with the authorities.
Below, the video along with my translation:
Jose Vicente Garcia: They’ve just removed a large group of [non-political] prisoners. The majority of the [group of] political prisoners is still here in El Helicoide. Daniel Ceballos has just gone out to speak to an officer. We fear for our lives. We ask the Catholic Church, our people, and everyone watching right now to accompany us. Do not leave us alone. We are resisting. We are few, but we will resist until the end. Venezuela must be free, and so must every political prisoner.
We fear for Daniel Cabello’s life. Right now, he is speaking with…
Garcia’s statement was confirmed by attorney general Tarek William Saab, who said shortly before 5:30 PM that 72 non-political prisoners had been removed from the prison in order to meet one of the mutinous inmates’ demands.
U.S. Citizen Joshua Holt Posts Second Video, Picture
Joshua Holt, a U.S. citizen who was arbitrarily detained in 2016, appeared in his second video in as many days today inside La Tumba.
Holt’s message was posted on Daniel Ceballo’s Twitter account. In the message, Holt announces the date but slurs the words. It is not clear if he is saying “May sixteenth” or “May seventeenth”.
Holt also released a picture of him in the prison, alongside his wife who is evidently also detained. Below, the picture:
Note that Holt is wearing two different t-shirts in the video and in the picture, suggesting that the picture was taken on a different date.
Todd Robinson, the U.S. charge d’affaires in Venezuela, said today that his office was watching the situation closely.
Maduro Closes Campaign With Celebration
Maduro marked the end of his presidential campaign today in Caracas with a celebration that included Argentinian soccer sensation Diego Maradona. The event took place on the Bolivar avenue.
In the video below, Maradona dances on stage to a Maduro-themed reggaeton song while carrying a Venezuelan flag:
Another video of Maradona dancing on stage:
The image below shows Maradona and Maduro posing on the stage:
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