Nazi tactics, torture and sexual violence: 13 key points from the harsh UN report on the Maduro dictatorship

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The dictator Nicolás Maduro in a file photo.  The UN Mission in Venezuela was very harsh in its report on Justice under his regime (EFE)
The dictator Nicolás Maduro in a file photo. The UN Mission in Venezuela was very harsh in its report on Justice under his regime (EFE)

The Mission of the United Nations on Venezuela concluded that the justice of the dictatorship of Nicolas Maduro it facilitated the persecution and torture of opponents and was a key factor in covering up these crimes. The document presented to the UN Human Rights Council also points out that “the State did not adopt concrete measures to remedy the human rights violations”. On the contrary, the “system has played a significant role in repressing opponents of the government rather than providing protection to victims of human rights violations and crimes”. The grueling 212-page document speaks volumes. In it the word “torture“Is counted 214 times, while the terms”sexual violence”, 34 opportunities.

The Mission’s investigation revealed the systematic use of the repressive apparatus carried out by the military state of Mature on those dissident voices and the complicity of the judicial structure, despite what its attorney general exposed until weeks ago, Tarek William Saab in an interview with Infobae. “The actions and omissions of the Judges and Judges addressed the complaints of torture have had devastating consequences for the victims, including the continuation of torture and the deterioration of their health.”, Remarks the investigation of the HIM-HER-IT. Among the ten most salient points of the harsh report of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, the following can be highlighted:

1 – The judges of the regime changed the dates of the judicial files in order to cover up the police, paramilitary or intelligence forces that participated in operations against opponents and subjected their victims to torture. The document says: “The Mission’s review of files revealed discrepancies in the dates that seem to cover up the absence of arrest warrants at the time it was carried out, as well as the failure to present the detainee before a judge within the legal deadlines. In some cases, the official dates of detention appear to cover up periods in which individuals claim to have suffered short-term enforced disappearances during which they were held incommunicado and subjected to torture or cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment, including sexual violence.”.

2 – The magistrates did not act on formal complaints of forced disappearances or acts of torture. “In some of the cases examined, these irregularities were reported to the Judges and Control Judges, without receiving a response. This includes the case of Franklin Caldera, who declared before the Fourth Court of Terrorism Control in his first appearance that on February 11, 2021 was kidnapped in Colombia allegedly by members of the DGCIM and was subsequently interrogated and tortured for about 12 days, during which time he did not officially provide information on his whereabouts”. And adds: “The cases reviewed by the Mission reveal that, after learning of the arbitrary detentions, the courts did not systematically review or address irregular arrests and detentions, including cases of short-term enforced disappearances, even after habeas corpus petitions were filed.”.

In the image, the attorney general of Venezuela, Tarek William Saabm, is the focus of criticism of the report of the United Nations Mission on the regime (EFE)
In the image, the attorney general of Venezuela, Tarek William Saabm, is the focus of criticism of the report of the United Nations Mission on the regime (EFE)

3 – A maneuver used by the Nazis, the collective punishment, against a participant in “Operation Gideon” and reprisals against his family. “In some documented cases, security or intelligence agents allegedly used criminal tactics including kidnapping or arresting family members of opponents real or perceived, to achieve arrests. One accused of participating in Operation Gideon told the Control Tribunal at his preliminary hearing that DGCIM agents tortured him and told him that they would apply ‘Sippenhaft’ (a collective punishment tactic used by the Nazis). His two sisters and his brother-in-law were subsequently arrested and held in La Boleíta for 32 days.”.

4 – The judges and prosecutors of the regime did not investigate cases of sexual violence against detainees either. Even after reports of torture, illegally detainees were forced to remain in the custody of their torturers in clandestine centers. “In 113 of the 183 cases of detentions examined by the Mission, the detainees or their representatives denounced the commission of torture, sexual violence and / or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment. Said complaints were also raised by family members and legal representatives in briefs filed with the Control Courts, the Public Ministry and the Ombudsman’s Office. In 67 of the 183 cases, detainees appeared in court with clear marks of mistreatment”. To which he added: “In some cases, the records of the hearings it does not appear that the judicial authorities have responded to these complaints. In others, the Judges and Control Judges responded by ordering the Public Ministry to verify the complaints of torture presented or to carry out medical examinations. However, the same judicial files also reveal that they simultaneously ordered the accused to remain in preventive detention, under the custody of the alleged torturers, that is, the DGCIM and the SEBIN”.

5 – “A detainee declared directly before the Control Judge that after his decision to return him to the custody of the DGCIM ‘I have been subjected to around three months of continuous torture, beatings at 12.00 noon, at 6.00 in the morning, at 3.00 in the morning’. Another detainee suffered an abortion after the presentation hearing as a result of the torture inflicted. Despite having received complaints of torture, the head of the Control Court returned her to the custody of the DGCIM”.

6 – The document of the United Nations Mission also detailed how some of the political prisoners had not made the pertinent complaints because they did not have sufficient confidence in the judiciary of Mature and Saab. “Several victims, witnesses, lawyers and attorneys told the Mission that other defendants did not report the torture to the judicial authorities, either out of fear or lack of confidence in the judicial response. This has been omitted especially during the presentation hearings, when torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment, including sexual violence, had recently occurred.”.

7 – Confessions and statements under torture taken as valid by the judicial authority. “The Mission has identified cases in which confessions, incriminating statements or other alleged information, including passwords for telephones and social networks, were obtained under duress. or during interrogations without having legal representation. (…) The Mission has documented cases in which the judiciary did not fulfill its duty to avoid arrests based on information illegally obtained from third parties.”.

8 – “Of the 183 detentions of opposition persons or persons perceived as such that occurred between 2014 and 2021 documented by the Mission, 82 persons who were allegedly subjected to torture continued to be charged with crimes by the prosecution and judicial authorities. A review of their judicial files reveals that after the illegal interrogations, prosecutors, judges and women continued to allow the DGCIM and SEBIN to carry out criminal investigations that were based on evidence obtained by these intelligence agencies, including those derived evidence. of statements obtained improperly”.

9 – “The Mission was able to review the procedural deadlines in 144 of the 183 detentions reviewed73 and found significant differences between the deadlines allowed by law and practice. 77% of the presentation hearings examined by the Mission occurred after the 48-hour period allowed by law, and 18% of the detainees were held for more than a week before presentation hearings. Detainees were often held incommunicado and unsupervised during this period and were vulnerable to torture, sexual violence and other cruel treatment., inhuman or degrading”.

10 – The judges and prosecutors gave the intelligence agents free rein to act. To do this, he allowed the concept of preventive detention to be abused in order to arbitrarily dispose of the freedom of the persecuted. In addition, they ignored the evidence of torture, even when the victims appeared before them. “The issuance of preventive detention orders was used routinely and not as an exceptional measure, without offering a sufficient or adequate justification. Sometimes, detention was ordered at SEBIN or DGCIM facilities despite the risk of committing acts of torture, and even when the detainees presented signs compatible with torture in the courtroom”.

11 – “The Mission has reasonable grounds to believe that Judges, judges and prosecutors have played a key role in arbitrary arrests. They have based arrest warrants and preventive detention and accusations on facts and evidence that did not involve criminal acts or on the basis of which the person’s participation could not be individualized. In some cases, arrests and charges were supported by evidence tampered with, fabricated, or obtained through torture or coercion.”.

12 – The United Nations investigators further concluded that the “Actors of the justice system have also deprived detainees of their right to legal representation”. “Usually, the State has not adopted tangible, concrete and progressive measures to remedy human rights violations, combat impunity and repair victims through domestic investigations and prosecutions. Official information is scarce, but all the available evidence suggests that the number of national prosecutions for crimes related to human rights violations is low and is limited to low-ranking participants”.

13 – Finally, the UN holds prosecutors and judges largely responsible for not having prevented the torture and abuses of the victims and for having been part of the same repressive gear. “The Mission has reasonable grounds to believe that the justice system has played a significant role in State repression. of opponents of the government instead of providing protection to victims of human rights violations and crimes. The effects of the deterioration of the rule of law spread beyond those directly affected, they affect the whole of society”.

KEEP READING:

The UN mission in Venezuela concluded that the Maduro regime’s justice facilitated the persecution and torture of opponents
Interview with Tarek William Saab: defense of the Maduro dictatorship, controversial admissions and the certainty that “Venezuelans are returning”

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