The arrest of four officials from the opposition in Venezuela, the removal from office of a further 11 and the issuing of arrest warrants against another five, demonstrates the Maduro administration’s tightening stranglehold on any form of dissent, taking repression to a frightening new level, said human rights organization Amnesty International on Friday.
“By removing opposition officials from their posts for no legitimate reason, the Maduro administration is crossing a very delicate line,” said Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas Director at Amnesty International.
“The justice system should never be abused to silence the opposition, particularly those who have been elected to office.”
Meanwhile, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres has urged the Government in Venezuela and the opposition to relaunch negotiations for the benefit of the Venezuelan people.
Mr. Guterres expressed concern over the recent developments that could lead to further escalation of tensions and hamper a peaceful solution to the crisis.
“First they came for those taking to the streets, then for those who represent them in office. How much further is the Venezuelan government willing to go in order to silence those who think differently? The answer is terrifying,” said Erika Guevara-Rosas.
“It seems that winning an election and being from a party opposed to the government is enough to send you to prison in Venezuela. The authorities must immediately give up trying to silence those who are simply drawing crucial attention to their country’s human rights crisis.”
“The suggestion that a truth commission set up by the government can impartially investigate human rights abuses the Maduro administration outright denies committing, is simply absurd,” said Erika Guevara-Rosas.
Photo courtesy: Amnesty International