Venezuela using excessive force to crush protests

Lucy Bush
August 10, 2017

Presenting the preliminary findings from an investigation conducted in June and July, the United Nations rights office described "a picture of widespread and systematic use of excessive force and arbitrary detentions against demonstrators in Venezuela".

"Witness accounts suggest that security forces. have systematically used disproportionate force to instill fear, crush dissent and to prevent demonstrators from assembling, rallying and reaching public institutions to present petitions", the United Nations office said.

London [U.K.], August 8: Caracas area mayor Ramon Muchacho has been removed and sent to 15 months of imprisonment by the Venezuela's pro-government Supreme Court amid massive protests against President Nicolas Maduro.

Among the other agreements reached by the ANC is the support to the Commission of Truth, Justice and Peace to investigate the deaths during the violent protests in the country led by the right-wing opposition.

The UN said a full report on its finding about Venezuela would be issued at the end of this month.

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UN's rights office says Venezuela's security forces are responsible for at least 46 deaths in connection with protests. "More than 1,000 reportedly remain in detention", the United Nations statement said.

"Tactics used included electric shocks, beatings, including with helmets and sticks while handcuffed, hanging detainees by the wrists for long periods, suffocation with gas, and threats of killings - and in some cases threats of sexual violence - against the detainees or their families", she added.

"This government invades the spaces that it is not capable of legitimately winning", Stalin Gonzalez, an opposition lawmaker, wrote on Twitter of the assembly's takeover of the chamber the opposition has controlled since winning 2015 elections.

The investigators conducted 135 interviews between June 6 and July 31 with victims and their families, witnesses, civil society organisations, journalists, lawyers and doctors, among others.

Opposition lawmaker Delsa Solorzano says the goal of the truth commission is to "persecute those who think differently".

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"I call on all parties to work towards a solution to the rapidly worsening tensions in the country, to renounce the use of violence and to take steps towards meaningful political dialogue", Zeid said. An election for delegates to the constitutional assembly was fraught with accusations of vote tampering.

"The Constituent Assembly got off on the right foot", Maduro said on Sunday.

Over the weekend, the assembly fired the attorney general, Luisa Ortega, who had broken ranks with Maduro to become an outspoken critic of the direction he was taking.

New Constituent assembly will rewrite the constitution.

Meanwhile, leaders from the Bolivarian Alliance, a leftist coalition of 11 Latin American nations, met in Caracas and declared Venezuela's constitutional assembly a "sovereign act" aimed at helping the nation overcome its difficulties. That raised prospects that two camps may claim to be the country's legitimate government.

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Inflation in Venezuela's crisis-hit economy quickened to 248.6 percent in the first seven months of the year, the opposition-led congress said on Wednesday in the absence of official data.

Other reports by Info About Network

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