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RED VZLA Urgent Request to the OTP-3

REDACTED Page 19 of 190 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 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 and a court where the bias is a little less than a fact publicly acknowledged. In 296 cases where civilians have been released pursuant to court orders, 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 addition, challenges that went against the interest of the state are overlooked or the findings were in the GoV’s favour. Sixthly, the GoV’s policy to persecute the perceived dissidents did not stop at those within the GoV’s custody. Using the presence of the national security forces and pro government armed paramilitaries deployed on the ground, the GoV also implemented a policy of persecution to further threaten the perceived dissidents who were released and those not arrested to prevent, restrict, monitor and punish dissent and cover up the crimes in order to retain power by all means. Using the dialectic of conspiracy, Maduro and members of his inner circle criminalised dissent thereby legitimising and providing an unrestricted license to the national security forces and pro government armed paramilitaries to persecute perceived dissidents, their family members, friends and social support networks as well as anyone who loosely associated with or communicating with them. This persecution targeted students who participated or allegedly participated in protests, political opponents, law professors, journalists, NGO members and businessmen. Dozens of journalists and civilians were threatened, harassed, assaulted and their cameras and mobile phones were confiscated by national security forces and members of the pro government armed paramilitaries. Offices of NGOs and political parties were broken into and sacked.39 39 EL NACIONAL. (2014) Atacan sede de Voluntad Popular en Zulia. El Nacional. [Online] 28 March. Available from:

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