Two inmates die of thirst in Guarico prison

One of the prisoners, Carlos Eduardo Jimenez, served his full sentence by January 2020, but due to the quarantine and the public transportation crisis, prevented him from attending one last hearing and being freed.

The prohibition of mobilization in the state of Guarico prevents relatives from the Center and West of the country from moving to the prison 26 de Julio, to visit the prisoners. Photo by El Pitazo archive.

By Pedro Izzo.

Two inmates died of thirst in the prison name 26 de Julio, located in Guarico state. One of the deceased had served his full sentence, an NGO reported. The bodies of Carlos Eduardo Jimenez Jimenez, 38, and Jose Francisco Aviles Hidalgo entered in June 9, into the morgue of the Israel Ranuarez Balza Hospital in San Juan de los Morros, Guarico state.

The deaths were first reported by the NGO that defends the rights of prisoners in Venezuela, Una Ventana a la Libertad (UVL in Spanish), which highlighted that Jimenez and Aviles were held at the Guarico prison, and died from severe dehydration. The NGO added that Jimenez and Aviles have confined with a group of tuberculosis-suffering prisoners.

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He served his sentence but remained in prison

Carlos Jimenez was born in San Fernando, Apure state, and was about to turn 39 next Sunday, June 14. According to UVL, Jimenez had served his sentence by January 2020, but due to the lack of transportation combined with quarantine limitations prevented him from attending his last hearing for freedom in the courts in his hometown.

Jimenez’s relatives had hoped that he would be one of the 180 prisoners released by the Minister of Penitentiary Services, Iris Varela, last Friday, June 5, but that did not happen, said UVL.

Jimenez died on June 9, after three years in the Guarico prison and have been, at least, in seven detention centers, including the judicial internment centers in seven states of the country, according to the Venezuelan Prison Observatory (OVP in Spanish).

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In a press release, the OVP assured that the courts in the state of Apure were aware of the case of Jimenez. “His family went to court tirelessly because the only thing missing was the hearing where he would be released, but they never moved him because there were no vehicles available,” said OVP.

“We fought until we couldn’t, until the very end, because we hoped he would get out,” Jimenez’s family told OVP. They also reported that they were victims of extortion and theft because the packages sent never reached their incarcerated relatives.

Mobilization ban in Guarico

Due to the COVID-19 emergency, the governor of the entity, José Vásquez, prohibited mobilization from other cities to the state to avoid an increase in the number of cases of coronavirus. This measure prevented Jimenez’s relatives from traveling from San Fernando to San Juan de Los Morros to remove the body.

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