AI INDEX: AMR 53/005/2000     20 March 2000


PUBLIC AI Index: AMR 53/05/00

UA 63/00 Fear for safety/Death threat

20 March 2000

VENEZUELA Alí Eduardo Sojo Díaz (aged 16)
Flor Díaz Rangel (f)
Freddy Sojo
Yolima Díaz Rangel (f)

Police officers have threatened 16-year-old Alí Eduardo Sojo Díaz with death. He, his parents Flor Díaz Rangel and Freddy Sojo, and his aunt, Yolima Díaz Rangel, fear for their safety. Amnesty International believes that the threat was made to intimidate Alí Sojo and other members of his family because of their efforts to bring to justice those responsible for the death, 19 months ago, of Freddy Díaz, Yolima Rangel's son.

On 7 March 2000, at about 8:00 p.m., Alí Sojo was near to his grandmother's home in Barrio La Cruz, a neighbourhood in Petare, Municipality of Sucre, Miranda State. He was hailed by three hooded men in a green car with tinted windows but he ignored the call and ran to his grandmother's home.

Five days later, on 12 March, Alí Sojo's parents, Flor Díaz Rangel and Freddy Sojo, received a visit from a neighbour who told them that agents attached to the Policía Municipal de Sucre, Sucre Municipal Police, had asked him where Alí Sojo was living because ''they wanted to kill him'' (''querían matarlo'').

Yolima Rangel's son, Freddy Díaz, was reportedly shot dead by a member of the Policía Municipal de Sucre in August 1998. Alí Sojo and Yolima Rangel, who was also shot and injured in the incident, were eye-witnesses to the killing. After the killing Freddy Diaz's family was taken into custody and held for 24 hours. They were told by police that if they pressed charges against the police then the police would ''make their lives impossible'' (''hacerles la vida imposible'')(see UA 221/98, AMR 53/07/98, 14 August 1998).

On 16 November 1998 the Director of Human Rights, on behalf of the Attorney General of the Republic (Fiscal General de la República), sent a communication (Ref. No: DDH-16 40486) to Amnesty International. In it the Director informed the organization that, following a complaint filed by Yolima Díaz Rangel, Dr. Antonio Mastroprieto, Attorney No.14 of the National Public Ministry (Fiscal No.14 del Ministerio Público a Nivel Nacional ) ''was conducting the preliminary enquiries in order to verify the complaint'', (''se encuentra realizando las averiguaciones preliminares para constar la veracidad del hecho''). Since then Amnesty International has received no further information as to the outcome of the investigation.


Over the years, Amnesty International has received many reports of individuals killed by Venezuelan security forces in circumstances where firearms were used. Amnesty International has also documented attacks and extrajudicial killings of minors (see Venezuela: The silent cry - Gross human rights violations against children, AMR 53/13/97, October 1997). These incidents are rarely fully investigated and in very few cases have those responsible been brought to justice.

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