Political leader is sent to jail for reporting conditions at Maturin hospital

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Union leader Molino reported that Maturin hospital had no conditions to handle coronavirus cases: Photo: Jesymar Añez.

The union leader Julio Molino was depriving of freedom during a hearing held on the afternoon of Thursday, 19 March. Molino was accused by the Prosecutor’s Office of prompting to panic, and anxiety in the community and prompting to hatred.

Julio Molino is a union leader for the health-care sector in Monagas and a member of the political party Voluntad Popular. He was arrested this week in the Juanico sector by officers from the Monagas State Police.

His political partner Luis Machado said on his Twitter account that the arresting happened after Molino reported that Dr. Manuel Nuñez Tovar University Hospital had no conditions to handle cases of coronavirus.

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The court ordered Molino to house arrest while investigations into his case continue. The union leader is 72 years old, and a retired malarial-sanitation worker. His case is handled by lawyers from the Monagas chapter of Foro Penal, a high-profile Venezuelan NGO which compiles cases of Human Rights abuses in the country.

What governor says

Before Molino’s arrest, pro-Maduro governor Yelitza Santaella said in her radio show that several people in the state have been arresting for spreading false information about positive cases of Covid-19.

Santaella pointed out that her government “will take the necessary measures to prevent citizens from echoing rumors that break the quiet of the people from Monagas.”

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