According to the NGO Foro Penal, a local organization dedicated to monitoring prison inmates in the Caribbean country, there are currently 299 political prisoners in Venezuela.
In a statement, Foro Penal denounced that since 2014 there have been 15,715 imprisonments for “political reasons” and that from this point onwards, 12,000 prisoners will also have to provide assistance.
According to the NGO, the prisoners include a teenager and 129 soldiers. “As of today, we are registering 299 political prisoners in Venezuela in the criminal forum. In addition, 9,386 people are still being arbitrarily prosecuted for political reasons, but under precautionary measures,” complained the organization’s vice president, Gonzalo Himiob, on his Twitter account.
According to this, the victims are 278 men and 21 women, 170 of them civilians and a further 129 members of the military. Almost two weeks ago the NGO decided on the negotiation process between the opposition – led by Juan Guaidó – and the government of Nicolás Maduro and called on the parties not to use the detainees as “negotiating pieces”.
The president of the NGO, Alfredo Romero, has indicated that if the releases are negotiated, an end to this type of detention should be requested. He also recalled that following the last dialogue processes registered in Venezuela, the number of political prisoners had increased despite pardons and releases.
With that in mind, it has shown that around 85 percent of political prisoners have not been tried, although many have been incarcerated for more than two years. The Venezuelan Criminal Code states that a prisoner cannot be detained for more than 24 months without trial.
The self-proclaimed “responsible president” of the country, Juan Guaidó, has repeatedly called for the release of all political prisoners in the country, particularly in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.