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RED VZLA Urgent Request to the OTP-3

REDACTED Page 16 of 190 government armed paramilitaries systematically targeted individuals who had been taking photographs or filming protests, subjecting them to beatings, confiscating their cameras and mobile phones whether they were professional journalists or civilian or arbitrarily arresting them. Fourthly, the national security forces under the leadership of Maduro implemented Maduro’s policy of imprisonment of perceived dissidents by conducting a campaign of arbitrary arrests, illegal detention and persecuting detainees through acts of tortures and other inhumane acts to prevent, restrict, monitor, punish dissent and cover up the crimes in order to retain power by all means. Scores of demonstrators were arbitrarily arrested and illegally detained during and in the context of the demonstrations. According to information released by the Office of General Prosecutor, at least 3351 civilians were arrested and detained from February to December 2014, while a local NGO report confirms that this number rose to 3758 in May 2015, of which 370 were minors. The information available indicates that many people were not arrest and detained during the protests, but when they were either moving away from places of protest or in nearby areas or thereafter in the days following the protests. Some police records even indicate that arbitrary arrest and illegal detentions were ordered because officers assumed the people concerned were going to commit offences. Members of the security forces forced entry into homes in areas where roads had been blocked, arbitrarily arrested and illegally detained people without a warrant Many of those arbitrarily arrested were subjected to short term detentions, being released after being subjected to mental and physical torture and abuses, without being charged. 92% of these people were arbitrarily arrested and illegally detained without an arrest warrant and were released without court order after being subject to short term detentions. Detainees were not informed of the reasons for their detention. In many cases, the civilians were detained incommunicado without being allowed the right to contact a lawyer or their families. The authorities also did not notify families of the arrests and detention, forcing families and lawyers to visit different places to try to locate them. This happened also in cases involving minors and in several instances, the families and lawyers were deliberately mislead by the national security forces in relation to the detention and location of detainees. When lawyers visited the places of detention to request access to detainees and to police stations to find out the reasons for their detention, officials refused to provide

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