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RED VZLA Urgent Request to the OTP-3

REDACTED Page 130 of 190 In several instances, authorities deliberately misled families and lawyers regarding the whereabouts of detainees even the case of minors detention—a practice referred to as “taxi driving” (ruleteo)—without informing detainees, their families, or lawyers including in cases of minors being detained. 549 Crucially, in most cases the lawyers and accused were only informed of the charges at the first appearance before the magistrate with no time to review relevant documents. Most of the charges were based almost exclusively on the police reports, despite allegations of violations and abuse of process and in some cases, individuals detained separately, at different times or in different locations—and who in many cases did not even know each other, were charged in a single hearing with the same crimes, the using the same piece of evidence for all of the accused. Last but not least, the Executive’s collusion with the judiciary has also lead to extensive violation of due process and the absence of impartiality has resulted in biased outcomes in the judicial process. Indications that the judiciary, under the direction of Gladys Gutiérrez, President of the Supreme Tribunal of Justice -head of the Judiciary branch-, has participated in the cover up of the abuse of process is that none of the charges were dismissed despite the blatant and grave abuses committed by the Police and the General Prosecutor’s office.550 Some charges were allowed to stand despite being brought based almost exclusively on police reports and, in several instances, on what was plausibly denounced by detainees as planted evidence. The judges allowed cases to proceed and to be determined applying unjustifiably low thresholds of standard of proof to the Prosecution’s evidence due to bias towards the GoV and relying exclusively on police reports despite allegations of abuse of process. Convictions and judicial decisions were based on minimalistic evidence such as a piece of barbed wire in some cases. Evidence in particular email correspondences presented by the Prosecutor’s office that was challenged in relation to its authenticity was admitted without granting proper weight to the lack of reliability of the material. Furthermore the judiciary itself contributed to the abuse of process by conducting court 549 See: HRW (2014). Punished for Protesting: Rights Violations in Venezuela’s Streets, Detention Centers, and Justice System. p.20; See also: Universidad Católica Andrés Bello – Centro de Derechos Humanos, Documentación de casos de violaciones de derechos humanos en Venezuela durante el mes de febrero de 2014, at 9. Available at: df 550 AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL. (2015) Venezuela: the Faces of Impunity. p.9; HRW (2014). Punished for Protesting: Rights Violations in Venezuela’s Streets, Detention Centers, and Justice System. p.4 (illustrative cases at 40-59)

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