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RED VZLA Urgent Request to the OTP-3

REDACTED Page 165 of 190 As presented at the beginning of this section, the GoV has adopted a policy of attacking and severely depriving of fundamental rights those individuals perceived as political dissidents and identified as “fascists” by the highest spheres of government. This policy is part of the bigger GoV’s objective of retaining power by all means and aims at deterring and punishing political dissent, as well as covering up the crimes committed. Since February 2014, a significant number of civilians perceived to be fascists, including political leaders, political activists, businessmen, media owners, employees, journalists and media employees as well as human rights and NGO leaders and lawyers, have been victims of serious and repeated threats and attempts to their lives and liberties on the basis of their political beliefs. Although the exact numbers of cases are unconfirmed due to the fear of reporting victimization and the absence of adequate judicial remedies, the numerous incidents of exiled individuals and the consistency of the reports illustrate the existing policy of the GoV. This section will describe several instances in which the GoV has intentionally and severely deprived individuals of fundamental rights on the basis of their perceived political affiliation. This section will illustrate how the GoV has persecuted political leaders, political activists, businessmen, media owners, employees and journalists, as well as Human Rights and NGOs activists and lawyers perceived as political dissidents. These persecutions have taken place since February 2014, in the context of the commission of acts of murder, imprisonment, torture and other inhumane acts described above. i) Persecution against political leaders The amount of leaders and activists of the Popular Will (Voluntad Popular) who were arrested from February to August 2014 totals 199 people.724 The state television accused them of being “terrorists”. Carlos Vecchio, National Political Coordinator of Popular Will stated that “hundreds of activists have been persecuted and detained by the state.”725 In addition, Vecchio indicated that some people who were arrested in the protests had indicated that they had been subjected to “torture”. 724 EL NUEVO HERALD. (2014) La oposición venezolana mantiene el optimismo a pesar de las dificultades. El Nuevo Herald. [Online] 14 August 2014. Available from: es/article2038425.html#storylink=cpy 725 VEONOTICIA. (2014) Carlos Vecchio denunció en la ONU la violación de los Derechos Humanos. Veonoticia. [Online] 6 June 2014. Available from: onu-la-violacion-de-los-derechos-humanos/

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