Caracas (AFP) – A judge this Monday accepted the charges against a 24-year-old university student accused in Venezuela of conspiring against the government of President Nicolás Maduro, for which he will be tried in prison, his defense reported, which asked for the case to be dismissed.
First modification: 11/21/2023 – 11:05Last modification: 11/21/2023 – 11:03
The student John Álvarez was arrested on August 30 and linked to six union leaders who, a few days before, were sentenced to 16 years in prison for “conspiracy”, a sentence that human rights activists denounced as retaliation for protests demanding better working conditions in the public sector.
“It’s a mockery,” Álvarez’s lawyer, Joel García, questioned before the press after the preliminary hearing against this university student, who claims to have been a victim of torture by police officials.
“They say that John committed crimes of conspiracy and association (to commit a crime) that the Public Prosecutor’s Office did not even know how to explain at the hearing; however, the judge in the case admitted the accusatory document, admitted all the evidence and consequently ordered the go to oral and public trial keeping John Álvarez imprisoned,” declared García, who assures that his client is innocent.
“I sent a message to my son: to continue resisting (…). We are standing and we are going to continue fighting,” said Álvarez’s mother, Wendelin Peña.
His father, Jhon, maintains that the student’s release actually depends on “a political decision.”
According to his defense and his relatives, when he was presented in court on September 4, Álvarez reported before the judge that officers applied electric shocks to his genitals, ribs and knees and hit him with a bat to extract “a confession” from him. , recorded on video, against the convicted union members.
García asserts that the accusation against Álvarez is based on “an anonymous intelligence report,” when the Constitution “prohibits all forms of anonymity.”
The lawyer estimates that the trial would formally begin next year.
© 2023 AFP