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Venezuela’s justice system

By Aleksander Boyd

London 05 Mar. 04 – After 6 days of imprisonment Luis Guillermo Perez Amoros, Pedro Vasquez and Santiago Monteverde have been charged. At 11 PM last night Caracas’ 11th Tribunal of Control justice Deyanira Nieves Bastidas declared Mr Perez Amoros guilty of illegal use of firearms and of formation of armed groups; Monteverde and Vasquez have been found guilty of carrying arms illicitly. The case is riddled by flaws which need to be pointed out.

Paraffin tests of defendants turned positive. However at the time of detention they were not shooting, moreover the rounds contained in their pistols were complete. It leads to the belief that the implied rationale of the prosecution is that any person coming out of a shooting gallery can then be charged, which is ludicrous apart from illegal.

The prosecution’s investigation report added to the case is dated 26 of February i.e. three days prior to their arrest on the 29th of February. Confronted to this argument justice Nieves Bastidas expressed ‘it is a remediable error…’ Further said report is composed by 15 sheets of paper, not one or two. How could the prosecution (composed of prosecutors Landaeta and Castillo) have prepared such a detailed analysis at that precise moment in time is beyond anyone’s comprehension capacity, lest of course that the case is a clear cut example of political prosecution.

Articles from a derogated military code have been utilised by the prosecution to build the case up, which needs to be clarified is against civilians.

Yesterday at 6PM justice Nieves Bastidas asked defendant’s representatives and prosecution to leave the premises; after a recess of two hours she would announce her findings. Not complying with her own schedule justice Nieves Bastidas pronounced her decision at 11PM. The defence strongly believes that she was waiting for a telephone call from the presidency or the vice presidency that precisely instructed her to castigate in exemplary manner Mr Perez Amoros, given the fact that his brother was Carlos Andres Perez personal pilot during his first presidential campaign.

Prosecutors have been heard commenting that Perez Amoros, Monteverde and Vasquez have to be imprisoned due to the supposition held by the former that ‘they were intending to engage in criminal activities’ Such line of argument is preposterous and has no legal base whatsoever, alas justice Nieves Bastidas seems to have ignored the ever annoying current laws and statutes (Art 61, 65 of the penal code).

Perez Amoros, Monteverde and Vasquez are kept in El Helicoide -state police HQ in Caracas- until the definitive sentence will be announced by judge, presumably today

To conclude I would like to translate Art 128 of the penal code:

“Any person who, in accord with a foreign nation or with foreign enemies, conspires against the territorial integrity of Venezuela or against its republican institutions, or beleaguers it by any means for said purposes, shall be punished with 20 to 30 years imprisonment.”

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