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OAS Secretary General Certified the List of Political Prisoners in Venezuela

  July 26, 2017

The Secretary General of the OAS, Luis Almagro, today certified the list of political prisoners which the human rights organization Foro Penal Venezolano presented to him.

“Today, I received the list of the political prisoners currently jailed in Venezuela that is continuously updated by the human rights organization Foro Penal Venezolano. We have certified this list for the purposes of following-up on the situation of each of the prisoners on the list,” explained Almagro.

The Secretary General explained that the Venezuelan government has systematically used the simultaneous and periodic release and detention of political prisoners, known as the “revolving door” effect.

“It is a tactic to instill terror, silence dissident voices, or indicate a willingness to negotiate. In reality, the government has repeatedly used it as a ploy to alleviate international pressure while continuing to roll back rights and further violate the Constitution,” added Secretary General Almagro.

Before the protests started on April 1, the regime in Venezuela had 117 political prisoners. That number has increased dramatically during the protests. As of July 25 it has reached 498; the highest number of political prisoners since the dictatorship of Marcos Pérez Jiménez.

“Democratic principles simply do not allow for the arrest or detention of a person for their ideas. The criminalization of protests, harassment, imprisonment, and torture of political opponents are typical practices of a dictatorial State. The people detained by the Venezuelan government for these reasons are prisoners of conscience,” he added.

“In agreement with Foro Penal Venezolano, this list will be periodically authenticated so that it serves as the only reference point for the liberation of all political prisoners, as well as for following whatever process is undertaken by the regime that affects the conditions of the prisoners,” added Secretary General Almagro, as he also reiterated his call for the immediate liberation of all political prisoners in Venezuela.

Reference: E-059/17