(Mérida 05/13/2020) – Since on Saturday, May 9, relatives of prisoners at the Region Andina Penitentiary Centre (hereinafter, “CEPRA” for its acronym in Spanish), located in Lagunillas, Sucre municipality in the State of Merida, demanding the presence of authorities so that they are aware of the deficiencies of the deprived of their Liberty especially in food and medicine, they are also requiring the removal of Oscar Briceño who is the director of the prison.
The legal team of the Observatory of the Human Rights of the University of Los Andes (ODH-ULA) accompanied the relatives of the prisoners to the vicinity of CEPRA on the morning of 9 May, where they were unable to enter due to the fact that officials of the Bolivarian National Guard (GNB) tried to stop the protest of the prisoners with throwing tear gas bombs into the facility.
The accompaniment of ODH-ULA to the relatives has continued during all these days. Yesterday, May 12, a complaint and a request for action by this organization of State were filed with the Ombudsman’s due to the situation of human rights violation to the deprived of their Liberty of CEPRA, as expressed their relatives. ODH-ULA recalls that it shall be the duty of the Ombudsmen to verify whether any person’s human rights are being violated and to ensure that such violations cease to occur.
In addition to the lack of food, medicine and health care, the relatives of the prisoners complain that some of them were transferred to other Penitentiary Centre without prior notification, a fact that could not be confirmed by legal team of ODH-ULA. In a report filed with the Ombudsman’s Office, these relatives demanded that the list of transferred prisoners be made public and that a commission of defenders come to CEPRA to find out what had happened inside the facility following the prisoners’ protest, and to assess their physical and health condition. They fear that they have been mistreated for protesting and holding two guards when they started their protest.
ODH-ULA claims that the Ombudsman’s Office was closed on Monday, May 11, when representatives of this Observatory came to introduce the aforementioned request. It also rejects the allegation made by defender IV, Laura Araujo, yesterday when she received the requests, who indicated that no defender has been able to go to CEPRA because the institution’s car is damaged and they have not gasoline.
ODH-ULA is an organization that provides legal assistance and accompaniment to victims whose human rights have been violated.