Venezuela: Announcement of pardon of more than one hundred people is only the first step to reversing policy of repression

Following the public announcement of a decree issued by President Nicolás Maduro – not yet published – to pardon 110 people with ongoing criminal proceedings or convictions against them, Amnesty International celebrates the release of those who should never have been deprived of their freedom and urges the Venezuelan authorities to immediately and unconditionally implement this measure.

“The policy of repression of the government of Nicolás Maduro has led to hundreds of arbitrary detentions of those who dare to question it. These releases should not be seen as an act of benevolence, but a first step towards reparation for the injustices and arbitrary actions committed in a society submerged in a deep human rights crisis,” said Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas director at Amnesty International.

Among those who will benefit from this measure are the prisoner of conscience and union leader Rubén González, 61, detained since November 2019 in the La Pica prison in the state of Monagas, and the parliamentarians Gilber Caro and Renzo Prieto, arbitrarily detained in the headquarters of the Special Actions Force (FAES) of the Bolivarian National Police since December 2019 and March of this year respectively.

There are also other cases on the list that Amnesty International has expressed its concern over in recent months, such as Maury Carrero, detained arbitrarily in April and subjected to periods of being held incommunicado by officials from the Directorate for Military Counterintelligence (DGCIM); and Nicmer Evans, detained in July by unidentified officials and charged with ‘incitement to hatred’ – seemingly for having published messages on social media expressing his disagreement with the government of Nicolás Maduro. Among the more than 100 people included in the pardon are people arbitrarily detained in the intelligence service headquarters, people who had already been released with measures restricting their freedom and people in exile with outstanding arrest warrants.

“The release of the people under this measure must be carried out immediately, guaranteeing their human rights. The Venezuelan authorities must not prolong the deprivation of liberty of these people one more day,”  continued Guevara-Rosas.

“The pardon issued by President Maduro must not in any way be considered as an acknowledgement of responsibility of those receiving it. It must serve as a turning point to stop the practice of arbitrary detentions and unfair trials, including the use of military courts, against those with differing opinions in Venezuela,” Erika Guevara-Rosas concluded.

Despite the fact that the pardon has been granted to more than 100 people, there are still many cases of people arbitrarily detained who should also be released. Likewise, Amnesty International will continue to report on the situation of other people such as Leopoldo López, Villca Fernández, Rosmit Mantilla, Geraldine Chacón, Gregory Hinds, Luis Carlos Díaz and Juan Requesens, who have been released under conditions that severely limit their right to freedom.   

For more information or to arrange an interview, contact Lucy Scholey, Media Relations, Amnesty International Canada (English branch), 613-853-2142,

Further information:

Venezuela: Charges against detainee must be dropped: Nicmer Evans (Urgent Action, 6 August 2020)

Venezuela: Incommunicado detainee now indicted: Maury Carrero (Urgent Action, 25 June 2020)

Hunger for justice: Crimes against humanity in Venezuela (Research, 14 May 2019)