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Coroner's Report: Venezuelan protester's autopsy reveals signs of torture

By Pilar Diaz and Mónica Castro, El Universal translated by * Francisco Toro

The coroner's report of the autopsy done on Juan Carlos Zambrano, killed in Lagunillas, Campo Turiaca, in Zulia State, "shows signs of vindictive cruelty (sańa), it horrified us because his arm and his pancreas were crushed, his testicles burned. On top of fractures in the collar-bone, the jaw, and the shoulder plate (omóplato)," said William Barrientos, chairman of the Human Rights Commission of the Zulia State Legislature.

The autopsy also determined that in Carlos Zambrano's stomach there were traces of human feces, and hair. He also presented burn marks on his back.

"Zambrano's common-law partner," Barrientos added, "who is underage, 17 years old, told us she was raped repeatedly in front of her husband by the military police officials who arrested them."

Marcial Arguellez, a friend of Zambrano, was arrested together with the Zambrano family, filed a formal complaint about the tortures he was subjected to. "They made him eat hair," Barrientos explained that detainees had their hair cut and fed to them, and they were forced to drink filthy water and had panes of ice pressed to their backs.

Anatomy of a cover up

He added that representatives of various Human Rights organizations in Zulia have shown their worry over the way investigations are being handled.

"The case is on the back burner, the only ones who have made official statements so far are the survivors and no one else. There has still been no protective injunction handed down to protect the family of the young man who died and the others who were attacked, moreover, the neighbors have called to inform us that the camp where the tortures were executed is being dismantled and moved part by part."

He added, "We're worried they will hide the evidence and change the initial scene where the facts took place. The commanding officer of the post has already been changed, and part of the troops and the officials have also been moved. There's been no opportunity to introduce any of the reports we have into evidence."

Separately, Barrientos also denounced that "Prosecutor Reina Trujillo has confiscated the bullet that killed AD leader Evangelina Carrizo", obstructing the investigation.

* I've said it before and I'll say it again. Chávez hates the private media not due to the lies they tell, but due to the truths they tell.

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