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VENEZUELA-POLICE/KILLINGS: police probed for summary executions

From EFE News

Caracas, Jun 16 (EFE).- Venezuela's Congress announced Thursday that it will investigate complaints about summary executions allegedly committed by the police in a state west of this capital.

The president of the congressional committee on domestic policy, opposition legislator Nicolas Sosa, said that the investigation into the matter will begin on Friday in Maracay, capital of the northern state of Aragua. The testimony of relatives of some of the alleged victims will be heard at that time.

Sara Mier, the coordinator of the Life, Peace and Freedom human rights defense organization, said that she had delivered to the commission information on 15 alleged summary executions that, she emphasized, were "the most emblematic cases" among some 1,500 complaints. The attorney general's office, the activist added, is investigating a third of the complaints, but "to date it has made no pronouncement" on the matter.

Sosa noted that a similar report on human rights violations in the neighboring state of Guarico still has not been discussed in a plenary session of the national legislature due to "hindrances" he attributed to the head of Congress, Nicolas Maduro, the leader of President Hugo Chavez's 5th Republic Movement party.

In the Aragua case, he said, "We'll use every means in Congress to avoid what happened with the report on Guarico." The governors of Guarico and Aragua - Eduardo Manuitt and Didalco Bolivar, respectively - who control the regional police forces, are leaders of government-allied parties. Manuitt heads the Fatherland for All (PPT) party and Bolivar is the leader of We Can.

Eighteen legislators are on the congressional committee and 14 of them, including some who are Chavez supporters, endorsed the report that holds Manuitt accountable for the existence of "extermination groups." The report documents more than 100 murders and disappearances of people suspected of common crimes, as well as convicted criminals, all supposedly at the hands of the death squads.

On Saturday, the head of the Ombudsmans Office, German Mundarain, demanded that the courts "throroughly" investigate the national, regional and municipal police forces for "damaging human rights." EFE ar/bp



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