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  HOME | Venezuela (Click here for more Venezuela news)

Chavista Cracks Grow: Venezuela Attorney General Wants Protesters Released, Regrets 26 Killed

By Carlos Camacho

CARACAS -- Venezuela Attorney General Luisa Ortega said Tuesday in Caracas that she will seek that all demonstrators arrested April 19th in demonstrations against embattled President Nicolas Maduro get released for lack of proof, and publicly regretted the death of 26 demonstrators and security forces in protests since April 4th.

“I can’t tolerate the violence”, Ortega said. “I regret the deaths of 26 persons, be they with the government or the opposition. The death of a person is always a regrettable thing. There have been four teenagers killed and 22 adults.”

So far, 437 have been injured in demonstrations and 1,289 arrested, Ortega added, although the opposition and local human-rights NGO have reported a higher number of arrests.

“Everyone should tone done the rhetoric and try and elevate it,” Ortiz said, renewing a call for fresh dialogue and adding that 1,289 people had been detained over the past weeks of unrest. “No one desires a civil war.”


“For the citizens that did not take part in unlawful activities," the Attorney General’s Office has asked either precautionary measures or full freedom. That refers to 38 persons arrested in Nueva Esparta state by National Guardsmen.

"The law states that the arrest should be supported by an arrest report when the person is caught in flagrancy. The arresting officer must narrate the facts in this act, without qualifying the offense. In this case, we find ourselves in front of an anomalous situation, since CICPC (the criminal investigation police) does not know the circumstances under which the detainees were arrested,” Ortega said Tuesday.

The Attorney General criticized law enforcement for improperly arresting citizens that were protesting, stressing the lack of arrest reports in most cases.

“All law enforcement agencies must file arrest reports to safeguard the penal process,” Ortega said.

According to NGO Foro Penal, almost 1,500 Venezuelans have been arrested in or near peaceful demonstrations Most of the demonstrators were detained by the National Guard, a military body which has no procedure for civilian arrest reports.

Monday was a black day again in Venezuela, with two men shot and killed while protesting against Maduro in Merida, a city in the Venezuelan Andes and another one in Barquisimeto.

The Latin American Herald Tribune (LAHT), CNN en Espanol (which is banned in Venezuela by the Maduro government) and the Attorney General all estimate the fatalities at 26 since this new wave of disturbances began.

The bulk of the killings occurred between Thursday and Monday, with 14 Venezuelans losing their lives in events that included demonstrations and lootings.

Ortega broke ranks with the Maduro administration in late March, after issuing the opinion that there had been a rupture in Constitutional order when the Maduro-controlled Supreme Court attempted to usurp the functions of the National Assembly, the opposition-held legislative. But Tuesday’s statements deepen the rift between Ortega and Maduro, especially now, that violent street protests against the President are entering a third week without any sign of slowing down.

Calling it a coup d'état, it was precisely that maneuver by the Supreme Court that triggered the latest wave of demonstrations by the Opposition.


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