The Venezuelan opposition has declared that some military personnel that the government has detained over the last few years are being tortured in confinement.
“Our officers of the Armed Forces, who are imprisoned for defending the Constitution, are tortured and subjected to the worst conditions of confinement,” said Julio Borges in a Twitter post.
Borges was appointed as commissioner for Foreign Relations by opposition leader Juan Guaidó.
Borges also requested that human rights organizations raise their voices and pressure the Maduro-led government to guarantee the military men their freedom.
Foro Penal, an NGO that defends those considered political prisoners in Venezuela, says that at least 123 military personnel have been imprisoned for opposing Nicolás Maduro’s government.
Among those on its list of military prisoners is Army Colonel Johnny Mejías Laya, arrested on January 30, 2019.
His relatives reported that he had been subjected to different physical and psychological torture during his imprisonment. Mejías’ wife said that her husband is being deprived of medical attention and that he has not been given some drugs needed.
On the other hand, the UN special mission to Venezuela has noted that since 2014 “Venezuelan authorities and security forces have planned and carried out serious human rights violations. Some of those violations (such as arbitrary executions and the systematic use of torture) constitute crimes against humanity.”
According to reports from an investigation by the mission, the detentions perpetrated by the Bolivarian National Intelligence Service and the Venezuelan General Directorate of Military Counterintelligence include “torture, cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment, as well as acts of sexual violence.”
All this was allegedly carried out in order to “obtain confessions or as a form of punishment.”
In statements made to the press, Francisco Cox (a member of the UN delegation) confirmed that there is evidence to prove that President Nicolás Maduro himself gave orders and instructions to the Bolivarian National Intelligence Service to monitor and detain certain individuals. “We have reasonable grounds to believe that this is a state policy […] to stifle the opposition,” he said.
Venezuelan national police officers confessed to the UN mission that there is a common practice of placing weapons next to the corpses of victims of extrajudicial executions in order to pass them off as criminals who were killed in confrontations.
“These killings appear to be part of a policy of eliminating unwanted members of society under the guise of fighting crime,” said mission president Marta Valiñas.
Readers Bureau, Contributor
Edited by Jesus Chan
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