AI INDEX: AMR 53/004/2002     23 April 2002  

PUBLIC AI Index: AMR 53/004/2002

UA 124/02 Death threats/fear for safety

23 April 2002
VENEZUELA Liliana Ortega (f) - President of Comité de Familiares de Victimas del 27 de Febrero (COFAVIC), Committee of the Relatives of the Victims of 27 February Other members of COFAVIC

Amnesty International is concerned for the safety of Liliana Ortega, president of COFAVIC and other members of the human rights organisation following a series of threatening emails and telephone calls.

On 18 April, an anonymous phone call was made to the offices of COFAVIC in which the caller said "Digale a la Doctora (Ortega) que no se aparte del camino,..[o] sangre va correr" (Tell the doctor if she steps out of line,.. blood will run). Prior to this and in subsequent days, threatening emails were also sent to COFAVIC.

Between 11 and 13 April, President Hugo Chávez was briefly overthrown by a section of the military, following an anti-government demonstration in the capital Caracas. During the 48 hours of political turmoil, at least 45 people were killed and over 100 were wounded. By 13 April protests led to the return to power of the constitutionally elected President and his government.

COFAVIC and other human rights organizations have worked to document the many human rights violations which occurred during the three days. Along with other national and international human rights organizations, COFAVIC have publicly called for independent and impartial investigations to be carried out, in order to clarify all levels of responsibility for the violence and bring to justice those responsible.

On 19 April the Inter American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) issued protection measures on behalf of Liliana Ortega and other members of COFAVIC, requiring the Venezuelan authorities to take steps to guarantee their safety.

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