Respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms
1. There are presently more than two hundred political prisoners and people who are persecuted for political reasons in Venezuela, many without any guarantee of access to due process, and many living in such precarious conditions that these, in and of themselves, represent a violation of their human rights. This situation has been brought to the attention of several international bodies, most recently the United Nations (UN).
2. One of the most emblematic cases is that of the political prisoners in the State of Táchira , in Venezuela 's Andean region. The following eight civilians were arrested in Táchira State for the April 12, 2002 , events: Elsy de Peña, Neira Celis, Jacobo Supelano, Wilfredo Tovar, William Forero, Omar Guillén, Dany Ramírez, Orlando Pantaléon and Saúl Lozano. With the exception of William Forero, all were indicted. The case of Saúl Lozano, former President of the Táchira Workers Federation, is particularly representative of abusive treatment. Although in need of surgery to alleviate his suffering for spinal-discus hernia, a condition that has impaired his ability to move, he has been denied treatment at an appropriate medical facility. His case will be brought to the attention of the Inter American Commission on Human Rights and the International Committee of the Red Cross, in order to request their good offices on humanitarian grounds. In August 2002, on the grounds of lack of evidence and time already spent in jail, a court's final sentence set free some of the eight political prisoners. Nevertheless, on October 14, 2004 , the Second Trial Court of Táchira State annulled such sentences and proceeded to announce that new procedures would be initiated against some of them. Moreover, after the Supreme Court's decision to revoke the sentence exonerating those military officers accused for the April 11, 2002 , events, the case was reopened and new charges will likely be brought forward.
3. Carlos Ortega, a Labor Union leader and former President of the Venezuelan Confederation of Workers, is imprisoned at the Ramo Verde Military Detention Center, charged with civil rebellion and with instigation to commit crimes for the December 2002 and January 2003 lockdown. Carlos Ortega is convinced that his trial is a political one and therefore he expects to be sentenced without due process. As the press has not been allowed in the courtroom the media will not be able to cover the trial in an adequate manner. Moreover, on July 11 a single member jury was selected, thus denying Mr. Ortega his constitutional right to a regular jury.
4. Besides de above mentioned cases, a number of individuals, all of them belonging to the opposition, are being arraigned in several courts and for different reasons . Among them are: Enrique Mendoza, former Governor of the State of Miranda; Cecilia Sosa, former President of the Supreme Court of Justice; Gisela Parra, former President of the Judiciary Council; Enrique Capriles Radonsky, Mayor of the Baruta Municipality; Leopoldo López, Mayor of the Chacao Municipality; Luis Lippa, former Governor of the State of Apure; Ramón Escobar Salom, former Public Prosecutor of the Republic; José Curiel, former Governor of the State of Falcón; David de Lima, former Governor of the State of Anzoátegui.