|AI INDEX: AMR 53/005/2002 10 May 2002|
PUBLIC AI Index: AMR 53/005/2002
UA 142/2002 Fear for safety/ill treatment
10 May 2002
VENEZUELA Luis Martínez, aged 27 (m)
Marvin Rangel, aged 20 (m)
Maiker Enrique Duno, aged 19 (m)
The three men named above were arbitrarily detained and beaten by police in Sucre on 30 April. The police threatened to kill them if they reported what had happened. Since then the same police officers have been harassing them, and Amnesty International believes their lives may be in danger.
The 30 April incident occurred when Sucre municipal policemen in plain clothes stopped the men and then took them to the main police station in Sucre in a white jeep with no number plates. There, ten plainclothes officers made them kneel down, and beat them repeatedly around the head and upper body, using fists and hard objects. They were also kicked all over their bodies. The officers told the young men that if they reported what had happened, they would kill them.
The victims were apparently kept in a room at the station for several hours. The police accused them of being ''azotes de barrio'' (scum of the neighbourhood) and ''ladrones de camionetas'' (van thieves) before they let them go.
Since then, the young men have reported that some of the same police officers are attempting to intimidate them. Some of the officers have waited near where the men work, and stared at them in a threatening manner.
The Venezuelan Constitution expressly prohibits the use of torture, but the government has not passed any legislation to make acts of torture a criminal offence.
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