PUBLIC AI Index: AMR 53/002/2002
UA 70/02 Threats and intimidation/fear for safety 8 March 2002
VENEZUELAJonathan Granadino Rosendo (m), aged 22
other witnesses to a murder trial
Jonathan Granadino Rosendo, whose testimony helped to convict a police officer
of murder in 2001, has been harassed and intimidated by police officers,
colleagues of the convicted officer. Amnesty International is concerned for
On 2 March he was arrested with three others at a betting shop near his home
in Miranda state, allegedly for illegal drinking. In the police van, one of
the three officers reportedly said to the others, “éste le hecho paja a nuestro
compañero” (this one grassed up our colleague). Once they reached the police
station, the other detainees were released after a few hours, but Jonathan
was not released until the following day, after friends and relatives had been
to the police station to ask why he had been arrested.
While he was in custody, the officer who had spoken about him in the van told
the station commander that Jonathan had testified against their colleague.
On 5 March a patrol car was stationed outside Jonathan Granadino Rosendo’s
house and remained for some time. He was too scared to leave the house. Human
rights groups believe this was intended to intimidate him.
In 2000, Jonathan Granadino Rosendo was a key witness to the killing of a young
woman, Diraicys Machado, during a large police operation in his neighbourhood.
Two police officers were charged with the killing. During the trial in 2001,
before the sentence was passed a police agent threatened the witnesses. The
authorities took no action, allegedly because the threats were “only words”.
One officer was sentenced to 20 years’ imprisonment for the killing and the
other was acquitted.
Other witnesses in the case, including Diraicys Machado’s mother, also reported
fearing reprisals from the police.
In the past police intimidation of witnesses has frequently prevented progress
in investigations into human rights violations, and prevents victims coming
forward in other cases.
According to the Venezuelan Human Rights Ombudsman (Defensor del Pueblo), nearly
400 people died in 2000 and 2001 in circumstances which suggested the police
and security forces had been involved. They also reported that impunity for
these crimes is almost total.
RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send appeals to arrive as quickly as possible, in
Spanish, English or your own language:
- expressing concern at reports that police officers in Miranda state have
harassed and intimidated Jonathan Granadino Rosendo, and urging the authorities
to order an immediate investigation;
- calling on the authorities to guarantee the safety of Jonathan Granadino
Rosendo, and other witnesses.