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FI 160/19-1
Venezuela
Abgeschlossen am 5. Dezember 2019

Representative’s right to fair trial ignored

AI-Index: AMR 53/1513/2019

Juan Requesens, Venezuelan Representative in the National Assembly has been in pre-trial detention since his arbitrary detention on 7 August 2018. After 14 months, his trial hearing was scheduled for Monday 25 November 2019, then postponed to 2 December, and again to 4 December. More delays are expected. The justice system in Venezuela constantly fails to comply with procedural time limits and the right to a fair trial without undue delays. Judges regularly postpone hearings without any valid excuse like when officers refuse to transfer defendants to their hearings, or because prosecutors do not show up before the court. We call for Juan Requesens to have a fair trial without undue delays.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Juan Requesens was arbitrary detained on 7 August 2018, after he gave a strong statement as representative of the National Assembly against Nicolás Maduro’s government. He was arrested in his house without a court order, late at night, with his sister Rafaela Requesens who was released hours later. The process to lift his parliamentary immunity was untimely, arbitrary and irregular.

Authorities of Maduro’s government released a video in which Requesens would have admitted his participation in some facts that are allegedly linked to a drone attack against Nicolás Maduro on 5 August 2018. This video was recorded when Requesens was being held incommunicado and isolated. According to his lawyer, he does not remember having recorded such video, and by his appearance in the video, his family suspects that he was under the effect of some sort of drug that prompted his statements and alleged confession.

This video is not incorporated in the judicial file. However, he has been processed as it was a real confession and assumes that his speech early on the day of his detention could have instigated others to commit a crime. His preliminary hearing was postponed four times and the prosecution accusation lasted for eight months, while his defence had only few minutes to present arguments.

Politically motivated arbitrary detentions have been part of Maduro’s policy of repression since the beginning of his presidency. Local NGOs have reported more than 15,000 arbitrary detentions in the past few years. Conditions of detentions are often inhumane and claims of torture to obtain confessions are often found in these cases.

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