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RED VZLA Urgent Request to the OTP-3

REDACTED Page 97 of 190 rhetorically: “Do you think that a person who has been violated, who had a rifle inserted in his anus, could sit down to make a declaration at his hearing?”391 In addition, as under the Chávez regime, the Prosecutors in Venezuela are not appointed by public competition and are often temporarily appointed thus remaining subject to the General Prosecutor’s authority to remove them.392 Although these findings date from 2009, there has been no restructuring or amendment in this field since then in Venezuela and the structure in place in 2009 is therefore still the same, presenting the same challenges to prosecutorial independence. Furthermore, the IACHR has raised concerns over the lack of independence of the prosecutors, which results in the allocation of cases within the General Prosecutor’s Office where matters are “cherry-picked”.393 According to information gathered by civil society organizations, all the investigations and prosecutions related to the interests of the ruling party and the executive branch are handled by a small group of prosecutors394 demonstrating the scope of influence of the Executive over the prosecutions. It is further claimed that despite that fact that several of these prosecutors have been challenged by the accused in various cases, the General Prosecutor has not upheld any of those challenges.”395 More recently, in October 2015, the defection of former prosecutor Franklin Nieves who sought asylum in the US with his wife and two daughters,396 confessed that the trial of Leopoldo Lopez in which he appeared as one of the two leading prosecutors “was a farce based on false evidence and unjustly violated his rights.”397 He confirmed in several interviews that “Leopoldo López is innocent” and that “This [trial] was a totally political trial which should be nullified. All of Leopoldo López’s human rights were 391 MORENO, J.T. (2014) Luisa Ortega Díaz: En Venezuela no hubo ninguna manifestación ni protesta pacífica; Also see: HENDERSON, V.L. (2014) Human Rights Watch Alert: All-Star Cast Doing Dirty Work for Venezuelan Regime? 392 IACHR. (2009) Democracy and Human Rights in Venezuela 393 IACHR. (2009) Democracy and Human Rights in Venezuela. Chapter III 394 IACHR. (2009) Democracy and Human Rights in Venezuela 395 Venezuelan Criminal Forum (NGO). Informe que presenta la Asociación Civil Foro Penal Venezolano a tres años de su Fundación (Report presented by the Venezuelan Criminal Forum three years after its establishment). June 6, 2008, pp. 58-59; IACHR. (2009) Democracy and Human Rights in Venezuela 396 WALL STREET JOURNAL. [2015] [Online] 26 October 2015. Available from: sham-1445895707. [Accessed on 4 November 2015] 397 WALL STREET JOURNAL. [2015] [Online] 26 October 2015. Available from: sham-1445895707. [Accessed on 4 November 2015]

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