The Maduro regime has released 22 political prisoners, including judge Maria Lourdes Afiuni. Arrested in 2009, Afiuni spent four years in prison, and the last six years out of prison but under strict conditions pending the conclusion of her trial.
The releases came just a day after a damming report from the United Nation’s Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights called out the Maduro regime for its systematic use of torture, arbitrary detentions, and extrajudicial killings against political opponents.
Afiuni announced her release through her Twitter account, thanking High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet for her work:
It is through this message that I want to express my immense gratitude to Ms. [Michelle Bachelet] who is the High Commissioner [for Human Rights at the United Nations] as well as her team for intervening in [case to secure] my unconditional release.
In December 2009, President Chavez ordered Afiuni arrested during a live television show after he became upset by a ruling that she issued in a case. Afiuni was subsequently arrested, and was held in a women’s prison until 2013, where she suffered torture and other abuses. That year, she was released from prison under strict conditions–including that she check in with a judge every two weeks and that she not leave the country–while her trial continued.
According to Spain’s El Pais, the rest of the freed prisoners are students. The newspaper also reported that journalist Braulio Jatar had also been released, but his sister–Ana Julia Jatar–later tweeted that her brother was still in prison.
Jatar was arrested in September 2016 for sharing a video showing Maduro being booed by residents of Villa Rosa, Nueva Esparta state.
Acosta’s Body Still in Morgue Eight Days After Death
The body of captain Rafael Acosta Arevalo is still in the Bello Monte morgue in Caracas, eight days after his death while in regime custody. This, despite the fact that the forensic tests on Acosta’s body were performed on June 29th, the same day that he died.
According to El Nacional, the morgue is awaiting permission from the Public Ministry to release the body to Acosta’s relatives.
Acosta’s lawyer, Alonso Medina Roa, has asked the Catholic Church to intervene in the matter and secure the body’s release so that he may be buried.
Acosta died after a week in regime custody, after exhibiting “serious signs of torture”. The forensic examination of his body, which was conducted by the Cuerpo de Investigaciones Científicas, Penales y Criminalísticas (Scientific, Penal, and Criminal Investigation Service Corps, CICPC) determined that at the time of death, Acosta’s body was riddled with approximately 30 cuts and bruises spread throughout his entire body.
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