CARACAS – Venezuela’s former defense minister – once a close ally of leftist President Hugo Chávez – was arrested on Thursday by the DIM military intelligence unit, one of his sons told Globovisión television.
Gen. Raúl Isaías Baduel was driving with his wife near his home when his vehicle “was blocked off by officials of the DIM who, pointing firearms at them and threatening them not to make any telephone calls, shoved them into a (military) vehicle,” the younger Baduel said.
Military prosecutors recently accused Baduel of alleged administrative irregularities during his tenure at the head of the Defense Ministry, a post he left in 2007 after a falling out with Chávez.
Baduel’s wife told Globovisión that both she and her husband had guns pointed at their heads by people who identified themselves as DIM agents, “but without saying where they were taking us,” a situation she called “violent and irregular.”
Her husband “had been presenting himself regularly every two weeks” at the military court handling his case, Mrs. Baduel said.
Omar Mora, one of Baduel’s lawyers, also told Globovisión that he did not understand the reason for “this ... spectacular and absurd detention,” when his client “has complied with all the judicial procedures that have demanded his presence.”
“We fear for his life,” added Mora, noting that “earlier the report came to us that there could be an attempt on his life under the guise of an alleged act (by him) of rebelliousness at the moment of his arrest.”
“I hope that they’re not thinking about anything of that kind,” he added, going on to say that Baduel was due at the prosecutor’s office Friday, so “this completely irregular and illegal act was not necessary.” EFE