Deputy Freddy Valera, president of the Permanent Commission of Domestic Policy of the National Assembly in the ordinary session this Tuesday, warned that political prisoners are in danger and for that reason, he requested that they be released as a humanitarian measure so that they can preserve their lives at risk due to COVID-19.
However, he said that in a dictatorship it is not possible to talk about political prisoners, but about political hostages, because in his opinion, the penitentiary detention centers of the regime’s political police treats with more cruelty the people who are detained because they think differently.
This was expressed by the representative of Bolivar State, in the debate on the condition of vulnerability of political prisoners during the COVID-19 pandemic. Furthermore, he denounced that prisons have become human warehouses where the right to health and water are denied to people deprived of their liberty, in addition to the total overcrowding of these places.
“Today Venezuela is subjected to the Chinese virus or coronavirus and any citizen who goes to a hospital or any health care center in search of a response to this virus is denied it, because this State has put an end to the health care system in the country.”
Echegaray’s death was due to the omission of SEBIN and the evil of the regime’s courts
Congressman Rosmit Mantilla was the second to speak out against the death of Erick Echegaray, who had been detained since 2010 in the dungeons of the Bolivarian National Intelligence Service (SEBIN) headquarters in the Helicoide.
He indicated that the death was due to lack of medical attention since Echegaray had been suffering from cancer for a long time. “Innumerable times his defense urged the court that was handling his case to attend to him, but this request was rejected time and time again. This gentleman spent years suffering from cancer in SEBIN cells facing the omission and evil of this police corp and the regime’s courts”.
Mantilla is one of those who think that Echegaray did not die from COVID-19 but was killed by the misrule of Nicolás Maduro and his criminal gang. “It could have been COVID-19 or a flu, it could have been anything. Many times his lawyer went to court and never managed to get Mr. Echegaray to get proper mediation or chemotherapy. My heartfelt words of condolence to his family.”
The representative for the state of Táchira asked the National Assembly to raise a warning call because there is a possibility that the deaths by COVID-19 in Venezuelan prisons could be counted in bulk.
“There are more than 400 political prisoners who are exposed and by this month, they have already gone five months without receiving visits to supposedly avoid contagion. The truth is that their relatives do not know anything about them. The truth is that today we do not know how Congressmen Juan Requesens, Gilber Caro and Renzo Prieto are doing.”
He said that in addition to the torture and cruel treatment to which the political prisoners are subjected, the pandemic is also present. For this reason, he reiterated that the complaint should be brought before the highest international bodies so that they can be released.
To conclude his speech, Mantilla recalled that when he was released he warned that the regime would come for each of the deputies and at this moment he assured that the fate of the mentioned deputies and of the more than 400 political prisoners will be the same as that of the legislators in Venezuela in the coming months after the electoral fraud scheduled for December.
Inhumane conditions of political prisoners make them more susceptible to the pandemic
Additionally, Deputy Omar González asked the National Parliament to urge international organizations, especially the High Commissioner for the Defense of Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, to urge international organizations to obtain the immediate release of political prisoners and the strengthening of health measures for the rest of the prisoner population in Venezuela.
He stated that the inhumane and degrading conditions in which political prisoners find themselves in the country make them more susceptible to the COVID-19 pandemic because the detention centers have become a potential epicenter of outbreak.
“There are parliamentary colleagues such as Gilber Caro, Renzo Prieto, Juan Requesens, Tony Geara, as well as numerous civilians and military personnel such as Luis Alberto Cunes, Luis Humberto de la Sotta, Luis Eduardo Díaz Casado, Eduardo José Jiménez Perfettin among many others, in terrible conditions and they assure us that the dungeons where they are held, such as those in SEBIN, El Helicoide, DIGCIM among others, are focal points for coronavirus. This means another form of torture for political prisoners and their families with the Chinese virus”.
The representative of the 16 de Julio Fraction joined the chorus that repudiates the death of Erick Echegaray, after contagion with COVID-19 in the “dungeons of usurpation” where he was held.
Given this fact, Gonzalez did not rule out the idea that the Maduro regime uses biological torture as part of the repertoire of atrocities committed in the basements of the Venezuelan political police.
“Let us remember that the socialists here admired the dictator Saddam Hussein and he became sadly famous for using bacteriological weapons against his people, from this kind of people and oppression you can expect anything.”
Commission of MPs to work hand in hand with the Human Rights Office and the Red Cross
To conclude the debate, the President of the Observatory of Human Rights of the National Assembly, Deputy Adriana Pichardo, took the floor. She presented a motion with the purpose of appointing a Commission of Deputies that will work hand in hand with the commissioners of Michelle Bachelet’s Human Rights Office in Caracas, with the Red Cross and with all the international organizations in the field of human rights, so that the visit and inspection of the state of health of all the political prisoners can be carried out in order to obtain humanitarian measures. “It is time for those responsible to take a step forward and avoid a tragedy where they will later come out to lament and justify the unjustifiable,” she remarked.
She said that since April the National Assembly has been warning of the risks faced by political and common prisoners in Venezuelan jails, which are characterized by overcrowding and subhuman conditions, and where the facilities are located, making this a breeding ground for COVID-19.
She reported that since Wednesday the Human Rights Observatory has received complaints from the families of the political prisoners, “kidnapped in the General Directorate of Military Counter-Intelligence (DIGECIM), where there are at least 27; in Ramo Verde 98; and in the Helicoide there are approximately 30 political prisoners. Several of them have presented symptoms of COVID-19, such as diarrheas, fever, loss of taste and smell, and respiratory insuficiency.
“In these same conditions are the deputies: Juan Requesens who has been imprisoned for 2 years; Gilber Caro for 7 months; Renzo Prieto for 5 months as well as Tony Geara; Roberto Marrero who has been imprisoned for one year and four months; as well as the deputy Ismael Leon, who has been imprisoned for 6 months at home, being a patient with a cardiopathy and blood pressure problems who is forced to have the SEBIN officials inside his house, exposing him to the COVID-19 infection”.
The representative for Aragua State and the political party Voluntad Popular, said that for more than 3 months the political prisoners have been totally isolated without family visits or their defense attorneys. In her opinion, this measure which may be necessary, is in turn is unfair because it is not enough to avoid contagion by the entry and exit of the officers who guard them perennially and are a danger to their health.