Press Release

IACHR Requests That Venezuela Adopt Protection Measures for Lieutenant Colonel Isbert José Marín Chaparro

March 7, 2019

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Washington, D.C. - On March 4, 2019, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) issued Resolution 9/2019 granting precautionary protection measures for Isbert José Marín Chaparro, in Venezuela, whom it deems to be at serious, urgent risk of suffering irreparable harm to his human rights.

The request states that the beneficiary is a lieutenant colonel in the Venezuelan army and has been deprived of his liberty at Tiuna military fort in Caracas since March 2, 2019, after having been accused of treason, among other crimes.

In reaching its decision, the IACHR took into account the petitioner’s allegations that the beneficiary had spent periods of isolation with a bag over his head and his hands tied and that his food was thrown on the ground. It was also stated that the cell where he is being held is small, unsanitary, unventilated, and brightly lit 24 hours a day. According to the petition, the beneficiary had been denied access to food and medication brought by his family members during visits.

In light of the petitioner’s allegations, the IACHR deemed it relevant for the state of Venezuela to provide its own observations, in accordance with Article 25.5 of the IACHR Rules of Procedure. The deadline for receiving these was extended but no response was received.

Given that the state is the guarantor of the rights of people deprived of their freedom, the IACHR concluded that there was no evidence to suggest that the petitioner’s worrying allegations were not true. The seriousness of these is amplified by the current context in Venezuela and by the fact that they were allegedly perpetrated by the very state agents who have control over and custody of the beneficiary.

Consequently, in accordance with Article 25 of its Rules of Procedure, the IACHR requested that the state of Venezuela take the necessary steps toward guaranteeing the rights to life and personal integrity of Isbert José Marín Chaparro; that it take the necessary steps toward guaranteeing that the conditions in which the beneficiary is being held prisoner comply with applicable international standards; and that it report on the actions it takes to investigate into the allegations that led to the issuing of this precautionary measure, so as to prevent them from being repeated.

The fact that this precautionary measure has been granted and its adoption by the state does not entail a prejudgment on any petition that may eventually be filed before the inter-American system to allege that the rights protected by the American Declaration and other applicable instruments have been violated.

A principal, autonomous body of the Organization of American States (OAS), the IACHR derives its mandate from the OAS Charter and the American Convention on Human Rights. The Inter-American Commission has a mandate to promote respect for and to defend human rights in the region and acts as a consultative body to the OAS in this area. The Commission is composed of seven independent members who are elected in an individual capacity by the OAS General Assembly and who do not represent their countries of origin or residence.

No. 059/19