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Venezuela: government repression escalates

By Aleksander Boyd

London 03 Mar. 04 - Four days after his arrest Luis Guillermo Perez Amoros continues to be held captive in Fuerte Tiuna without charges having being presented against him. Santiago Monteverde and Pedro Vasquez, the other two arrested with him, are allegedly in the same situation. Such repression and privation of liberty constitutes a gross violation to the most basic human right principles and it differs not, from a legal perspective, from the position that terrorist suspects have in Guantanamo Bay. Family members of Mr Perez Amoros are expecting his house to be raided at any time by the army.

Attorney Mayra Vernet, who is representing Mr Perez Amoros, has not been able to structure the defence for Justice Deyanira Nieves decided yesterday to adjourn the case, yet another day, without presenting any charges. The state of uncertainty of the three prisoners is dramatic. Preliminary audiences were to be held at the 11th Tribunal of Control of the Caracas Judicial district.

Recent precedent of overstepping regulations and legal procedures of the regime of Hugo Chavez already exists. Carlos Melo was detained in similar conditions and charged with possession of illegal weapons. Carlos Bastidas, representative of Mr Melo, stated that it is of utmost concern the way in which the case and charges have been presented. Mr Melo was arrested at around 6 PM last Monday and by 7.45 PM the prosecution had presented and compiled all the details for the case. Taking into consideration the peculiar maladroitness that characterizes the legal system in Venezuela Mr Bastidas said “it is almost impossible to file a case in such a short time.” Witnesses of Carlos Melo’s arrest have got videos that contradict the charges for at the time of detention Mr Melo did not have any weapons on him.

Former INTEVEP employee José Manuel Vilas Liñeira, was shot from behind and assassinated by the National Guard on Monday evening in San Antonio de Los Altos (Miranda state). Jesus Alvarez (23 year old) was also killed by machine gun fire in El Marques (Caracas) yesterday. The number of political prisoners, deaths and missing persons has augmented dramatically since Monday morning.

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