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The EU sanctions seven agents of Venezuelan Intelligence, four involved in the death of Acosta

September 27, 2019

BRUSSELS, Sep 27 (EUROPE PRESS) –

The Twenty-eight have imposed on Friday sanctions on seven agents of Venezuelan Intelligence for “serious violations of Human Rights”, including torture, excessive use of force and mistreatment of detainees, four of them directly involved in the death of Corvette Captain Rafael Acosta, who died in June in the custody of Venezuelan authorities.

The sanctions – which involve the freezing of their assets and assets under European jurisdiction and the prohibition of entry into the EU and have been formally approved this Friday by the Twenty Eight – have entered into force immediately after their publication in the Official Journal European.

Specifically, the block has sanctioned the mayor of the Bolivarian National Guard Néstor Blanco Hurtado, the deputy director of the General Directorate of Military Counterintelligence (DGCIM), Rafael Ramón Blanco Marrero, one of the four agents directly related to the death of Captain Acosta , and at the high command of the Bolivarian National Intelligence Service (SEBIN), Carlos Calderón, as well as the head of the National Office Against Organized Crime and Terrorism Financing (ONDOFT) Alexis Enrique Escalona Marrero, who was head of the National Kidnapping Command .

The Twenty-eight have also sanctioned three other commanders responsible for the death of Captain Acosta. These are SEBIN agents Rafael Antonio Franco Quintero and Hannover Esteban Guerrero Mijares, who both served as DGCIM Research Chiefs, and the Director of Special Affairs of the
DGCIM, Alexander Enrique Granko Arteaga.

The EU has already denounced “the tragic death of Captain Acosta while in the custody of the Venezuelan security forces” as “a clear example of the continuing deterioration of the Human Rights situation” in the country and supported the findings of the High Commissioner of the United Nations for Human Rights (OHCHR), Michelle Bachelet, in whose recent report “clearly and in detail confirms the extent and severity of human rights violations, the deterioration of the rule of law and the dismantling of democratic institutions from Venezuela”.

“In the light of the serious situation that persists in Venezuela, which OHCHR has also reported, and the responsibility for serious human rights violations, in particular torture, committed by members of the security forces and Intelligence services of Venezuela in support of the regime, seven people must be included in the list of natural and legal persons, entities and organizations subject to restrictive measures, “justified the Twenty Eight.

With this decision, the number of Venezuelan, political and military senior officials sanctioned by the EU rises to 25, including number two of the 'Chavismo' and president of the Constituent Assembly, Diosdado Cabello; Vice Presidents Tareck El Aissami and Delcy Rodríguez; the attorney general, Tarek William Saab; and the president of the Supreme Court of Justice, Maikel Moreno.

The Twenty-eight imposed in November 2017 an embargo on weapons and equipment that can be used for repression or surveillance and approved the legal basis to freeze the assets of individuals, companies and organizations responsible for serious violations or abuses of Human Rights, of the repression of civil society and the opposition or undermine democracy and the rule of law in Venezuela or people, companies and organizations associated with them. The sanctions have been extended, one more year, until November 14, 2019.