Carlos Armando Figueredo —Those committing the crime of torture must be punished—

Sábado 1 de noviembre de 2014 Analítica

Screen Shot 2014-11-01 at 9.58.43 PMIn the El Nacional newspaper of today October 31, 2014, there is an article published by Alexis Vásquez S. reading as follows:

“·Dawn of October 27. On the punishment area’s roof of the Ramo Verde prison, where Leopoldo López, Enzo Scarano and Daniel Ceballos are imprisoned, military soldiers stood up with bags filled with their excrements and urine. They tied them with ropes in order to hit them against the political leaders until they burst, and splashed with their contents the three cells’ interiors and their occupants. When these wanted to clean up the mess, they became aware of the fact that their water supply had been shut down.

“The order came from the Ramo Verde prison’s director: mister Homero Miranda has no moral or dignity allowing him to be called colonel”, said Ceballos’ wife, Patricia Gutiérrez, who jointly with Lopez’s wife, Lilian Tintori, denounced the torture and cruel treatment against the political leaders, after they had decided to protest until the judges hearing their cases complied with the recommendation of the United Nations’ Working Group on Arbitrary Detention and freed them.

… “The political leaders’ punishments have been increased: 15 days without family visits, no water, no television links (a guard cut the cables) and high volume PSUV music every dawn preventing them from sleeping, specially on the day before the hearings. “When they play PSUV songs, Leopoldo sings the national anthem, said a VP party leader.”

It is hard to believe that a government boasting that it got a chair at the U:N. Security Council allows that monstrosities such as those above mentioned may allow that they occur. Rightly, Lilian Tintori, the wife of Leopoldo López and the wives of Enzo Scarano and Daniel Ceballos have denounced the tortures, the cruel, inhuman or degrading treatments applied to their husbands, being applied also to other prisoners at Ramo Verde.

One raises the question: Are there torture, inhuman, cruel or degrading treatments against at Ramo Verde? Yes, there are and the answer is based on Venezuelan legislation. Effectively, in the Official Gazette # 40,212 of July 22, 2013, the Special Law to Prevent and Punish Torture, and other Cruel, inhuman or Degrading Treatments. The following is provided in such law:

“Article 5. The following terms are defined for the effects of his law:

1 Violation of human rights: crimes attacking the fundamental rights of men and women, as members of humanity, as defined in the Covenant of Civil an Political Rights of the United Nations Organization, and executed by the State —directly or indirectly or by omission— under cover of its sole power. In such manner, the State voids its essential purpose and leads to the disappearance of the rule of law.

  1. Torture: acts intentionally pains or suffering are inflicted on a person, be they physical or mental, with the purpose of obtaining from such person or from a third party information or a confession, of punishing it for something by it committed, or of intimidating or coercing such person or other ones, or under reason based on any kind of discrimination when said sufferings are inflicted by a male or female public officer or by any other person performing public functions, on their instigation, or with their consent.
  2. Cruel treatment: acts with which a person is intentionally attacked or mistreated, subject or not to deprivation of freedom, with the purpose of punishing or breaking its physical or mora resistance, generating suffering or physical damage.

4, Inhuman or degrading treatment: acts with which another person is psychologically attacked, being subject or not to deprivation of freedom, causing fear, anguish, humiliation; executing a serious attack against its dignity, with the purpose of punishing or breaking its will or moral resistance.

Said law ratifies the provisions of the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, adopted by the United Nations under its Resolution 39/46 of December 10, 1984 in force since June 26, 1987. That Law punishes said crimes as provided in its Chapter IV, defining them as follows:

Of the crime of torture  Article the male or female public officer who, when performing functions inherent to their office injures a male or female citizen under his or her custody in their physical, psychic or moral integrity, or by any reason based on any kind of discrimination, with the intention of intimidating, punishing or obtaining information or a confession, shall be punished with the penalty of fifteen to twenty five years of prison and disabled to perform public and political function, for a period equivalent to the decreed punishment. Both the disablement of performing the public or political function shall not be subject to any rebate.

Of the crime of cruel treatment  Article 18. The male or female public officer subjecting a person being submitted or not to deprivation of freedom with the purpose of punishing or breaking its physical or moral resistance, who generates suffering, physical or psychic damage, shall be punished with the penalty of thirteen to twenty three years of prison and disabled to perform public and political function, for a period equivalent to the decreed punishment. Both the disablement of performing the public or political function shall not be subject to any rebate.

Collaboration, cover up and obstruction  Article 19. The male or female public officer collaborating in any way or covering up the active agents of the crimes provided by articles 17 and 18 shall be punished with penalty equivalent to what is set in the formerly indicated articles. The same punishment shall be incurred by the male and female public officers who hinder the corresponding investigations forwarded by the Offices of Public Prosecution and Public Defense and disablement to perform public and political function, for a period equivalent to the decreed punishment. Both the disablement of performing the public or political function shall not be subject to any rebate.

Of material, intellectual authorship or collaboration by individuals  Article 20. Individuals participating as material or intellectual authors in any way with the active agent or agents of the crimes provided by articles 17, 18 and 29, respectively, shall be punished with a penalty equivalent to three fourths of the main penalty applied to these active agents, and disablement to perform public and political function, for a period equivalent to the decreed punishment. In the same manner, who collaborate in any way with the active agents of the crimes described by this article shall be punished with penalty of one fourth of the main penalty and disablement to perform public and political function, for a period equivalent to the decreed punishment. Both the disablement of performing the public or political function shall not be subject to any rebate.

Of the cries of inhuman or degrading treatments  Article 21. The male or female public officer who in functions inherent to their office, commit acts with which another person, being subjected or not to deprivation of freedom, causing it fear, anguish, humiliation; doe a serious attack against its dignity, with the purpose of punishing or breaking its will or moral resistance, shall be sanctioned with the punishment of three to six years of prison and disablement to perform public and political function, for a period equivalent to the decreed punishment. Both the disablement of performing the public or political function shall not be subject to any rebate.

The progressive, differentiated and proportioned use of potentially lethal force by the State’s security bodies, in accordance with the lines of the Law ruling the matter, shall not be deemed as cruel treatment.

These crimes are also described by the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, also ratified by Venezuela, in its article 7, as crimes against humanity.

One asks one self: what should there happen with the director of the Ramo Verde prison, mister Homero Miranda and the other military staff who participated in the above mentioned monstrous acts, as well with those who ordered or allowed them? Well Public Prosecution is bound to investigate them and file criminal charges in order that they be sanctioned with the punishments provided by articles 17 through 22 of the Special Law to Prevent and Punish Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatments with penalties that could even lead to 25 years prison. They may also be brought to the International Criminal Court for being crimes against humanity.