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Venezuala

    August 11, 2017

    The arrest of four officials from the opposition in Venezuela, the removal from office of a further 11 and the issuing of arrest warrants against another five, demonstrates the Maduro administration’s tightening stranglehold on any form of dissent, taking repression to a frightening new level, said Amnesty International.

    “By removing opposition officials from their posts for no legitimate reason, the Maduro administration is crossing a very delicate line,” said Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas Director at Amnesty International.

    “The justice system should never be abused to silence the opposition, particularly those who have been elected to office.”

    “First they came for those taking to the streets, then for those who represent them in office. How much further is the Venezuelan government willing to go in order to silence those who think differently? The answer is terrifying,” said Erika Guevara-Rosas.

    August 01, 2017
      The dramatic increase in illegal use of force, scores of arbitrary detentions and the killing of at least 10 people, among other worrying attacks against the people of Venezuela recorded this weekend, confirm a consistent pattern of deteriorating human rights in the country, said Amnesty International.   “President Maduro and his government appear to be living in a parallel universe,” said Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas Director at Amnesty International.   “The authorities cannot continue to ignore the tension and violence and should respond to the urgent needs of the entire population, including those who do not agree with the government.”   “The use of lethal force in Venezuela must stop immediately. The authorities must carry out impartial investigations in civil courts into all acts of violence, regardless of who is responsible. Immediate action must be taken to put an end to arbitrary detentions, killings and other serious human rights violations.”  
    August 01, 2017
      The seizure of two opposition leaders in Caracas late last night is a telling sign that the Maduro administration is desperate to silence all forms of criticism as the political and humanitarian crisis in the country approaches breaking point, Amnesty International said.   “The Maduro administration is sending a terrifying message to all people in Venezuela: dissent will not be tolerated in any form,” said Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas Director at Amnesty International.   In the early hours of the morning, officers from the Venezuelan intelligence services took Leopoldo López, leader of the opposition party Voluntad Popular, and Antonio Ledezma, the mayor of Caracas from their homes without a warrant. Both men had been transferred to house arrest on health grounds.   “The clock is ticking fast and time is running out for authorities in Venezuela to make a decisive U-turn when it comes to their approach to free expression. The alternative is simply too frightening.”  
    July 28, 2017
      The security plan announced ahead of the elections for the Constituent Assembly in Venezuela this Sunday is laying the groundwork for a new wave of mass human rights violations, said Amnesty International.   “Venezuela's ban on protests will do nothing but worsen an already incredibly volatile situation,” said Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas Director at Amnesty International.    “Instead of trying to silence the increasing popular anger, authorities must find workable solutions to people's very reasonable demands. Continuing to punish dissenting voices will only sink the country into an even deeper crisis."   The Venezuelan government’s security plan also includes provisions – such as the deployment of military personnel and experts to deal with electoral and military crimes – which are likely to facilitate a new wave of human rights violations.   Since protests began on 4 April, more than 100 people have been killed and more than 1,400 injured, according to official sources.  
    June 27, 2017
    Rosmit Mantilla

    “I often woke up believing my strength was running out, believing I couldn’t keep going, and then I received photographs of Amnesty International human rights activists from all over the world requesting my freedom, respect for justice and for life. Infinite thanks, friends—without you I wouldn’t be here!”

    These personal words of thanks for your support came from Rosmit Mantilla during his struggle to be freed from a Venezuelan jail. Rosmit is a prominent Member of Parliament, human rights defender and former prisoner of conscience. He is an activist for the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people (LGBTI) and a member of the opposition party Voluntad Popular. He was freed in November following two years in prison.

    June 02, 2017

    The increased deployment of military forces to repress protests, the rise in excessive use of force against protesters and others, and the use of military courts to try to silence dissenting voices illustrates a terrifying shift of the Venezuelan authorities’ approach to the human rights crisis wreaking havoc across the country, Amnesty International said after at least 60 people were killed in protests in the past 60 days.

    “By deploying military force and military courts to confront an increasingly tense social and political situation, the Maduro administration is only escalating the crisis, like trying to put out a fire with gasoline,” said Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas Director at Amnesty International

    “The level of human rights violations and the ruthless actions by the Venezuelan authorities are reminiscent of the worst times for human rights in the Americas.”

    “By dismissing protesters as ‘terrorists’ and charging civilians with crimes only applicable to soldiers, the Maduro administration is turning this political crisis into a violent conflict. Instead, it should be listening to people’s legitimate concerns and working to find solutions.”

    May 10, 2017
    The use of military courts to try civilians in Venezuela undermines the rule of law in the country, violating the Venezuelan constitution and international laws, said Amnesty International today.   “The increasing use of military courts to try civilians is proof of the resolute determination of the Venezuelan authorities to stifle the increasing protests and terrorize anyone who even considers expressing their opinions,” said Erika Guevara Rosas, Americas Director at Amnesty International.   “With this practice, the Venezuelan government is moving yet further away from the realm of legality. International law clearly establishes that it is unacceptable to treat civilians in the same way as the military, and is a total infringement on the exercise of human rights.”   According to official data, more than 250 people are currently deprived of their liberty and were brought before military judges and prosecutors. They were all prosecuted for crimes such as “association with intent to incite rebellion” and “attacking a sentinel”, under military jurisdiction.  
    April 26, 2017

    Venezuelan authorities are using the justice system to illegally increase persecution and punishment of those who think differently, says Amnesty International in a new report published today amidst an increase in protests around the country which have resulted in several deaths and hundreds of people injured and imprisoned.

    Silenced By Force: Politically-Motivated Arbitrary Detentions in Venezuela provides details on a catalogue of illegal actions on the part of the Venezuelan authorities to repress freedom of expression.

    These include arrests conducted by the Bolivarian National Intelligence Service (Servicio Bolivariano de Inteligencia Nacional, SEBIN) without a warrant, the prosecution of non-violent activists for crimes ‘against the homeland’ and the unjustified use of pre-trial detention and smear campaigns in the media against members of the political opposition, among other measures.

    April 19, 2017

    The unending spiral of violence and repression during the protests in Venezuela is submerging the country in a crisis that will be hard to come back from, threatening the lives and security of the Venezuelan population, Amnesty International said following reports of at least two deaths and several people injured and detained during the protests around the country today.

    The Venezuelan authorities confirmed that Paola Ramírez, 23 years old, and Carlos Moreno, 17 years old, were shot dead in San Cristóbal, Táchira and Caracas respectively.

    “Stepping out into the street when protests are taking place in Venezuela should not be a death sentence,” said Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas Director at Amnesty International.

    “The tragic combination of growing violence, uncontrolled repression, and lack of action on the part of the authorities to guarantee freedom of expression and justice is a toxic mix that does nothing more than perpetuate violence.”

    February 11, 2017

    Transgender lawyer Samantha Seijas was threatened by a police officer from the Aragua Police Force, in central Venezuela, while filing a complaint in a police station accompanied by his daughter. Fears exist for their safety.

    On 31 January, after filing a complaint at a police station, transgender lawyer Samantha Seijas and his daughter Aleska Seijas were beaten in the head and face by police officers from the Police Force of Aragua, who uttered derogatory phrases such as “what happened to trying to act all manly?“ (¿no te la tiras de macho?), referring to his gender identity. He told Amnesty International that as well as beating them, one of the officers threatened Samantha by saying “pray to God that I don’t find you out alone at night“ (pídele a Dios que no te encuentre de noche sola por la calle). It is important to note that Samantha Seijas and his daughter live in front of the police station.

    January 14, 2017

    The most recent wave of arrests of leaders and members of an opposition party point to a systematic pattern of abuses against those who dare to express an opinion contrary to that of the government, Amnesty International said today.

    Between January 11 and 12, MP Gilber Caro, member of the opposition political party Voluntad Popular, along with council members Roniel Farias, Jorge Gonzalez and political activists Stacy Escalona and Irwin Roca, were deprived of liberty after high level authorities who linked these leaders with Lilian Tintori, wife of the prisoner of conscience Leopoldo López, publicly accused them of carrying out "terrorist activities".

    "It looks like the government of President Maduro continues with its witch hunt against anyone who dares to voice an opinion contrary to his policies. The use of absurd conspiratorial arguments to justify irregular detentions demonstrates Venezuela's lack of commitment to the promotion and protection of the basic human rights of all people in the country," said Erika Guevara-Rosas, Director of Amnesty International for the Americas.

    December 01, 2016

    By Yaridbel Licón and Victor Molina, Amnesty International Venezuela

    “I often woke up believing my strength was running out, believing I couldn’t keep going, and then I received photographs of Amnesty International human rights activists from all over the world requesting my freedom, respect for justice and for life. Infinite thanks, friends, without you I wouldn’t be here!” - Rosmit Mantilla, ex prisoner of conscience, unjustly detained in May 2014 and released in November 2016.

    On May 2, 2014, a delegation of more than 20 members of the Bolivarian National Intelligence Service (SEBIN) burst into his apartment in Caricuao, a modest neighbourhood in west Caracas, where Rosmit Mantilla lived with his grandparents. A student, member of the opposition Party “Voluntad Popular” and a human rights activist, he never thought he would spend two and a half years of his life behind bars awaiting a trial against him that would never happen.

    November 18, 2016

     

    Prominent Venezuelan opposition leader, Member of Parliament, human rights activist and prisoner of conscience, Rosmit Mantilla has been released following 2 years in prison!

    Thank you to Amnesty International supporters who took action on his case!

    Rosmit send these personal words of thanks:  

    "I am a human rights activists borrowed by politics to humanize Venezuelan politics, to get some rights in the Venezuelan politcs.

    I am very thankful for all the activism voices everyone has raised for me. My commitment right now is human rights for everyone."

     

    The release of Rosmit, who was unfairly imprisoned since 2014 as punishment for his human rights work, must mark a profound shift in the government’s approach to dissent and freedom of speech. He was released after spending more than two years in pre-trial detention at the Bolivarian National Intelligence Service facilities in Caracas.

    November 18, 2016

    The release of a prominent Venezuelan opposition leader unfairly imprisoned since 2014 as punishment for his human rights work must mark a profound shift in the government’s approach to dissent and freedom of speech, said Amnesty International.

    Rosmit Mantilla, Member of Parliament, human rights activist and prisoner of conscience was released after spending more than two years in pre-trial detention at the Bolivarian National Intelligence Service facilities in Caracas.

    “Rosmit’s long awaited release is great news for human rights in Venezuela. He should have never been made to spend a second behind bars. The Venezuelan authorities must now build on this positive step and release all imprisoned activists and political leaders whose only ‘crime’ was to disagree with the government,” said Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas Director at Amnesty International.

    Rosmit Mantilla is an activist for the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people (LGBTI) and a member of the opposition party Voluntad Popular.

    August 27, 2016

    The transfer of a former opposition mayor to prison from house arrest at 3am this morning without any notice is a vile maneuver by the Venezuelan authorities to silence any critics amidst a growing political and humanitarian crisis in the country, Amnesty International said.

    “Authorities in Venezuela seem to be willing to stop at nothing in their quest to prevent anyone from criticizing them, particularly as the political and humanitarian situation in the country continues to deteriorate,” said Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas Director at Amnesty International.

    Daniel Omar Ceballos Morales, former mayor of the city of San Cristóbal and leader of the opposition party Popular Will, was sentenced to 12 months in prison in 2014 after failing to follow an order to stop opposition protesters from erecting barricades in the city.

    In August 2015 he was put under house arrest for health reasons. He is now awaiting trial on charges including rebellion and conspiracy to commit a crime in relation to the violent protests that took place across the country in 2014.

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