Wednesday, February 14, 2018
Por: AIVEN, Equipo de Documentación

Renzo Prieto is an elected Member of the Parliament for the National Assembly and a student in sports training in the city of San Cristóbal, Táchira state (western region). He was arrested on 10 May 2014 by officials of police and military intelligence agencies in Caracas without an arrest warrant. The Working Group on Arbitrary Detention of the UN has determined that his detention was arbitrary and recommends his immediate release. In El Helicoide, Prieto has been subjected to isolation and denied to receive visits. Until January 2018, 3 years and 8 months after his arrest, his preliminary hearing has been deferred 31 times.

Renzo Prieto is an elected Member of the Parliament for the National Assembly and a student in sports training at Universidad Pedagógica Experimental Libertador (UPEL) in the city of San Cristóbal, Táchira state, located in western Venezuela.

Prieto was arrested on 10 May 2014 in Caracas by about 30 officials of the Bolivarian National Intelligence Service (SEBIN) and the General Directorate of Military Counterintelligence (DGCIM), who did not identify themselves and did not present an arrest warrant. After his apprehension, he was transferred to the facilities of SEBIN, where he was interrogated under intimidatory procedures and psychological violence. Neither was he allowed to have a lawyer present according to reports from his relatives.

On 12 May 2014, Prieto was presented before the 27th Court of Control Functions of the Metropolitan Area of Caracas. He was ordered the preventive measure of deprivation of liberty and was charged for the crimes of obstruction against public safety in the degree of complicity, association to commit crimes and illicit manufacture of weapons in the form of explosives to the degree of complicity. The SEBIN headquarters, El Helicoide, was ordered as the detention center in Caracas.

His arraignment was deferred six times. When it was carried out, a trial deprived of his freedom was ordered.

The Working Group on Arbitrary Detention of the UN at its 73rd session from 31 August to 4 September 2015, described the arrest of Renzo Prieto as arbitrary, as it occurred in retaliation for the exercise of his rights to the freedom of opinion, expression and participation in the political life of the country. As the State did not present grounds that would justify the detention of Prieto, the Working Group recommended the Venezuelan government to carry out his immediate release and grant him an integral and adequate reparation.

From 4 to 17 December 2016, Prieto, along with 13 other detainees in El Helicoide, carried out a hunger strike in order to draw attention to their cases.

During 2017, Prieto participated in several episodes of protests carried out by a group of detainees in El Helicoide. According to reports from his family, each episode generated "punishments" by custodians, which included isolation, the prohibition of visits from relatives and lawyers, as well as the lack of access to sunlight. Relatives have also publicly stated that Prieto has been subjected to psychological torture.

On 10 January 2018, as informed by his lawyers, Prieto served 3 years and 8 months in detention. His arraignment for the opening of the trial has been deferred 31 times, due to the fact that SEBIN officials refuse to transfer him to court. According to the law, the preliminary hearing should have been held two and a half months after the arrest and after two years had passed without the trial having begun, Prieto should continue his trial free.

Tags: arbitrary detentions, Human Rights, Venezuela, Human rights violations.