Third ‘Batch’ of Political Prisoners Released, Same M.O.

Foro Penal said in a statement that out of 43 “political prisoners” that were released yesterday, only 17 of those are in fact political prisoners.

Yesterday, Delcy Rodríguez got to the end of the process of political prisoner releases announced by the government at Nicolás’s behest “in favor of the great national dialogue, reconciliation and unity,” she emphasized, adding that the work by the ANC Truth Committee also ended, but they’ll allegedly continue “approaching other cases that are pending from previous phases.” Imposed Prosecutor General Tarek William Saab said that at least 40 political prisoners would be released (Delcy later said it would be 43) speaking of a total of 200 people, meaning the “three batches” of beneficiaries; as if they were objects and not people. Pedro Pablo Fernández claimed that there are no common prisoners in this new group of releases and insisted that they’ll keep reviewing political prisoner cases even though Delcy terminated the process.

Civilians prosecuted by the military

Three civilians involved in one of the alleged coups against Nicolás, the so-called “Blue coup,” which brought at least 95 hearings, both effective and failed for everyone involved (soldiers and civilians) until January 11, 2017, were sentenced for instigating rebellion.

  • Luis Colmenares: bank teller, arrested on February 12, 2015, sent to military court. Sentenced to five years in La Pica prison.
  • Pedro Maury: cab driver, arrested on February 14, 2015, in Maracay. He’s being released with a complex health situation that grew gradually worse and was denounced repeatedly over his long and unfair detention. The precautionary measure his defense presented due to his health and age, was denied with the argument that the Ramo Verde personnel (a military prison) could guarantee him the necessary attention.

  • Jesús Salazar: carpenter, arrested on February 13, 2015, accused of aggravated instigation of rebellion, inappropriate use of military decorations and titles. Held in La Pica. Brother of Henry Salazar, also a political prisoner.
  • Without any links to the “Blue coup,” they also released Carlos Contreras, held in Ramo Verde after he was accused of being a member of an alleged terrorist group. His mom, Iralis Contreras, denounced many times the physical consequences of the cruel treatments and torture that Carlos experienced during his detention, including “electric shocks to the testicles.”


The country followed with great attention the mass arrest of students from the Universidad Pedagógica Experimental Libertador (UPEL), when police and military officers along with hooded men violated university autonomy early on July 2, 2017, forcefully taking the group of protesters that took shelter from the repression within UPEL. The young men were beaten and the women denounced that they’d been sexually assaulted, beaten and insulted. Out of the 27 detained students, 22 were sent to prison by a military judge, all of them indicted for military crimes. The following were released yesterday:

  • Boris Quiñones: surgeon, held for over two months in El Dorado prison. After the military court ordered his release with precautionary measures, another judge sent him back to jail. He was in the Tocuyito prison, where he tried to commit suicide a couple of times. Amnesty International had requested a humanitarian measure for Boris.
  • Álex González: head of UPEL Student Center. Like most other protesters, he was accused of possession of flammable objects, rebellion and criminal instigation. Held in El Dorado and then transferred to the 26 de Julio prison. His health has severely declined, after months of illness and torture.
  • Kenny Colmenares: a student indicted for possession of flammable material, rebellion and instigation. Held in the 26 de Julio prison.
  • Mitchell Sosa: a student indicted for possession of flammable material, rebellion and instigation. Held in the 26 de Julio prison.

From Mérida

Military courts ordered the release of four civilian political prisoners held in Táchira State Center for Military Prisoners (Cepromil). They are:

  • Héctor Guaicapuro Fernández: engineering student, leader at Los Andes University (ULA) in Mérida, arrested on July 19, 2017, in Ejido.
  • José El Hajale Rabah: business owner arrested on August 10, 2017, in Timotes for protesting.
  • José Gregorio Morales Utrilla: sports trainer from Timotes, arrested for protesting.
  • Fernando Domínguez Osuna: arrested on September 5, 2017, when he was returning from a trip.
  • Villca Fernández: a student arrested on January 31, 2016, by SEBIN Mérida, accused of instigating hate and disseminating false information just because he replied to a message on Twitter. Held in El Helicoide, Amnesty International said Villca was a thought prisoner. Mérida governor Ramón Guevara said that he’ll be released today, June 14. By the way, Lorent Saleh’s preliminary hearing was postponed for a 50th time this Tuesday: 50 postponements in three years and ten months of detention.

From Barinas

According to Foro Penal, the releases included Gilberto Téllez, former major of Sabaneta municipality and owner of the radio station Radio Planeta 98.7 FM, who was arrested on March 25 by SEBIN officers. Accused of criminal association, instigating hate, arson, damages to public property and illegal possession of explosives. Cristofer López and Asciel Jiménez were also arrested in the same operation and were also released yesterday. The same organization confirmed the release of four political prisoners held in El Helicoide, all of the mentioned in lists but without much data about their profiles: Michael Linares, Yonger Rosales, Yeison Rodríguez and Merino Rojas, linked to Mérida’s student movement who was arrested in Plaza Venezuela on May 21, 2017, during the raid on his apartment. He was held in El Helicoide.

Naky Soto

Naky gets called Naibet at home and at the bank. She coordinates training programs for an NGO. She collects moments and turns them into words. She has more stories than freckles.