Photo: Protests in Venezuela
Venezuelan prosecutors are investigating 160 allegations of human rights violations in connection with the anti-government protests that began three months ago, the attorney general said Thursday.
“Up until today, we have ... two cases of murder…, two cases of torture and 156 cases of cruel treatment,” Luisa Ortega told Venezuela’s Radio Nacional.
She said that 12 officials are in custody in connection with the cases and 12 others are at liberty pending trial but subject to monitoring.
The AG’s office presented the conclusions in 20 related cases in which six people were charged: “one for first-degree murder and five for cruel treatment,” she said.
“The behavior of all the institutions must adhere to human rights and if it doesn’t ... there are going to be sanctions for those who are ... responsible,” Ortega warned.
She recalled that since Feb. 12, the date on which the protests began, 42 people have died and 835 have been injured.
The dead include both opponents and supporters of the government, as well as police and bystanders.
The United Nations has criticized the Venezuelan government for using excessive force to break up peaceful protests in Caracas.
“We unequivocally condemn all violence by all sides in Venezuela. We are particularly concerned at the reported excessive use of force by the authorities in response to protests,” Rupert Colville, spokesman for the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in Geneva, said last week.
To try and find a solution to the political crisis, Venezuela’s government and opposition began a dialogue process on April 10 - with presence of representatives from the Union of South American Nations and The Vatican - that is expected to continue this coming weekend.