By Gabriela González.
The office of the Human Rights Commissioner of the government in charge, presided by Juan Guaido, presented a report evidencing the flagrant violation of the right process and torture in 22 cases of military officers that were documented under the condition of confidentiality. Daniela Suarez, who works with the commissioner, presented their findings on December 10.
Asphyxiation with plastic bags impregnated with talcum powder, electric shocks, forced undressing, isolation in places with low temperatures, and deprivation of sight were some of the tortures applied to a high official who once was a Chavista militant but who later turned his back on the regime.
Both the man and his wife were tortured, in what seems to constitute a new Maduro regime tactic.
This case is related to the military uprising of April 30, 2019. After the failure of this movement, several military officers got detained. The report concludes that detainees get subjected to strenuous and violent interrogation.
Interrogators always sought to get victims to implicate known opposition figures such as Maria Corina Machado, Juan Guaido, and Julio Borges. When the victim refused, they are more aggressive against the detainees.
Another violation involves arraignment, preliminary, and trial hearings. Delays are ordinary and seemingly systematic in all of these stages.
“Pre-trial detention has been a rule,” said Suarez. The conclusive acts stage, which by law needs to take only 45 days in each case, can take up to seven months, with the victim in prison during that period.
In the case of trials, it takes one or two years to start them, and in the last few months, it gets paralyzed by the pandemic.
Family members and lawyers are also not notified of the date and time of hearings, which in many cases occur late at night or in the early morning.
Lawyers get prevented from seeing records and having access to their clients. Public defenders are imposed on detainees. These defenders routinely share information obtained from the victim with law enforcement and pressure detainees into confessing, regardless of their degree of responsibility.