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Venezuela: torture / fear for safety: Juan Vicente Palmero (killed), Kevys Wilfredo Palmera, 14; Francisco Javier Beltran, 17; Jose Alirio Danila, Luis Bracca, Luis Alberto Macualo, 50, Colombian; Cruz Antonio Martinez, 25; Wilson Manuel Fajardo Acosta, 2

, Index number: AMR 53/003/1995

The above-named were detained between 26 February 1995 and 3 March 1995 after eight Venezuelan soldiers were reportedly ambushed and killed on 26 February by Colombian guerrillas in the vicinity of Puerto Ayacucho. Fears for their safety have been increased by reports that one of them has been killed and several others tortured in custody. AI is concerned about these reports and is requesting an immediate and impartial investigation. AI is also calling for the detainees to be given immediate access to doctors, lawyers and their relatives and for them to be charged with a recognizably criminal offence or immediately released.

EXTERNAL (for general distribution) AI Index: AMR 53/03/95
Distr: UA/SC
UA 59/95 Torture / Fear for safety 7 March 1995
VENEZUELA Juan Vicente PALMERO - killed
Kevys Wilfredo PALMERA (14)
Francisco Javier BELTRAN (17)
José Alirio DANILA
Luis BRACCA
Luis Alberto MACUALO (50), Colombian
Cruz Antonio MARTINEZ (25)
Wilson Manuel FAJARDO ACOSTA (22)
Yonny Alberto SALAZAR BONA (19)
Yunny Javier SALAZAR BONA (18)
Seferino RODRIGUEZ (38), Colombian
Julio Aldemaro ARTAONA (24)
Francisco Ramón HERNANDEZ (21)
José Oracio BUSTAMANTE
Neira Casilda BONA DE SALAZAR (41), female
Allela CORTES CAMACHO (32), female
Luis Carlos NAVARRO BONA, Colombian
Plinio ROMERO MARTINEZ
Régulo Armando OJEDA
Marcos Ramón COLMENARES (43)
Freddy Euclides ROMERO FLORES
Luis Alberto LARA
Carlos José VASQUEZ (45), Colombian
Fears for the safety of 23 people detained by members of the Venezuelan Navy
have been heightened by reports that one of them has been killed and several
others tortured in custody.
The arrests took place between 26 February and 3 March, after eight Venezuelan
soldiers were reportedly ambushed and killed on 26 February by Colombian
guerrillas in the vicinity of Puerto Ayacucho, the capital of the state of
Amazonas. Those detained were taken to various locations where they were
reportedly tortured: the Navy base in Cararabo, the hacienda Agua Dulce de
la Marina and the headquarters of the Comando Ribereño (Riverside Commando)
in Puerto Ayacucho. All the detainees are now being held in Puerto Ayacucho,
although their exact whereabouts are not known to Amnesty International.
Juan Vicente Palmero is believed to have been killed by members of the Infantes
de Marina (Navy Infantry). He was detained together with 14-year-old Kevys
Palmera and Francisco Beltrán on 26 February. Reports indicate that they were
tortured, as a result of which Kevys Palmera's left leg was fractured in three
parts. On 1 March, he and Francisco Beltrán were taken to Puerto Ayacucho.
Other detainees who are reported to have been tortured are Wilson Fajardo,
Jonny Salazar, Yunny Salazar and Seferino Rodriguez. Others reportedly
subjected to ill-treatment are José Danila, Luis Alberto Macualo, Cruz A.
Martínez, Julio Artaona, Francisco Hernández, Luis Navarro, Plinio Romero,
Régulo Ojeda, Marcos Colmenares, Freddy Romero, Luis Lara and Carlos squez.
On 5 March, many of the detainees were seen by a local human rights organization.
BACKGROUND INFORMATION
2
On 3 March, the Venezuelan government announced that they had detained 12
Colombian guerrillas who were believed to have taken part in the assault of
26 February. The government has said that these people would be tried under
military jurisdiction for their participation in the ambush.
Several constitutional safeguards were suspended by President Rafael Caldera
in June 1994 following a serious banking crisis in the country. These included
the right not to be arrested or imprisoned unless caught in flagranti delito.
Amnesty International has repeatedly complained to the Venezuelan authorities
about the widespread use of torture and ill-treatment, and about the lack of
safeguards provided to people held in preventive detention. The organization
believes that the principal reason for the persistence of torture in Venezuela
is the impunity enjoyed by the perpetrators.
RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send telegrams/telexes/faxes/express and airmail
letters either in Spanish or in your own language:
- expressing concern at reports of the torture and ill-treatment by members
of the Venezuelan navy of people (naming some) arrested between 26 February
and 3 March, and at the reported killing of Juan Vicente Palmero;
- requesting an immediate and impartial investigation into these reports and
that those responsible are brought to justice;
- asking that the detainees be given immediate access to doctors, lawyers and
their relatives, and seeking assurances that all are now being treated humanely
in accordance with international standards;
- asking that they be charged with a recognizably criminal offence or immediately
released.
APPEALS TO
1) President of the Republic
Dr. Rafael Caldera
Presidente de la República
Palacio Miraflores
Caracas, Venezuela
Telegrams: Presidente Caldera, Venezuela
Telexes: 21161 MIRAF VC
Salutation: Sr. Presidente/Dear President
2) Minister of Defence
Gral. Moisés Orozco
Ministro de Defensa Nacional
Ministerio de Defensa Nacional
Fuerte Tiuna, Conejo Blanco
El Valle, Caracas, Venezuela
Telegrams: Ministro Defensa, Caracas, Venezuela
Faxes: + 58 2 662 8829 (if voice, ask: "me podria dar tono de fax?")
Salutation: Sr. Ministro/Dear Minister
3) Attorney General
Dr. Iván Darío Badell
Fiscal General de la República
Fiscalía General de la República
Manduca a Ferrenquín
La Candelaria, Caracas 1011, Venezuela
Telegrams: Fiscal General, Caracas, Venezuela
3
Telexes: 24787 FISGE VC
Salutation: Sr. Fiscal General/Dear Attorney General
COPIES TO:
Human rights organizations
Oficina de los Derechos Humanos
Vicariato Apostolico
Puerto Ayacucho
Amazonas, Venezuela
Fax: + 58 48 21721
Programa Venezolano de educacion accion en derechos humanos
Apartado 5156
Caracas 1010-A, Venezuela
Fax: +58 2 816669
diplomatic representatives of Venezuela accredited to your country.
PLEASE SEND APPEALS IMMEDIATELY. Check with the International Secretariat,
or your section office, if sending appeals after 26 April 1995.

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