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RED VZLA Urgent Request to the OTP-3

REDACTED Page 131 of 190 hearings routinely and inexplicably in the middle of the night, a practice that was not common before, and with inexplicable delays forcing counsels and family members to wait for hours in courts, in military facilities, or in other where places hearings were held. The proceedings were conducted without affording an equal footing to the parties to defend themselves. In some cases the Defence was only allowed to call a disproportionately low number of witnesses in a court where the bias is a little less than a fact publicly acknowledged. Just like under the Chávez regime, several judges have public shown the support for the Executive as illustrated above. Furthermore, in light of the de facto control of the Executive over the provisionally appointed judges and the Supreme Tribunal which in turn through its Judicial Commission, presided by Gladys Gutiérrez, has the power to appoint and remove judges without public competition, which inevitably results in judges which have been handpicked to promote the interests of the Executive. It therefore comes without surprise that most of the findings are in favour of the GoV, the convictions are unsubstantiated and challenges that go against the interest of the state are overlooked. Even in cases where the charges are not pursued by the General Prosecutor, the judges have imposed abusive conditions for conditional release (medidas cautelares) preventing the accused from exercising their fundamental rights to freedom of assembly and expression, such as prohibiting them from participating in demonstrations or talking to the media, confiscation of passports for indefinite period of time. In many cases, the attempts at challenging the actions and the impartiality of the judges in these cases have in most instances been either dismissed before being considered or upon adjudication. A few of the most notable cases of imprisonment arising from violations of due process of law, in the course of the GoV’s policy to prevent, restrict, monitor and punish political dissent include the following. i) Detention of students in February 2014 On 5 February 2014, Salvatore Lucchese, the director of the San Diego Police, was arrested for allegedly failing to abide a ruling of the TSJ that forbid certain protests.551 Amnesty International was quoted at the time stating that his detention could be the 551 LA PATILLA. (2014) Diez meses de prisión dicta TSJ al alcalde y al director de policía de San Diego Enzo Scarano y Salvatore Lucchese

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