Resume Iván Simonovis (2005.04)

I thought you might take an interest in the victimization of a progressive police manager and fine man who urgently needs your assistance. I request you look into this case urgently with a view to doing what ever is possible to secure the immediate release of Mr. Ivan Simonovis.

            On April 11, 2002, an authorized civil march of over a million Chavez opponents took place in Caracas, Venezuela.  Permission was given by the then Mayor of Caracas, Alfredo Peña, for the protestors to proceed from “Parque del Este” (starting point) to “Plaza de la Meritocracia” (ending point) in the community of Chuao, where the headquarters of Petroleos de Venezuela (PDVSA - the state owned oil company) is located. Upon reaching their final destination, the protestors became restless and decided to continue the march to the “Miraflores” Presidential Palace.

            Knowing that he would not be able to guarantee the safety of the protestors if they proceeded outside of his jurisdiction, Ivan Simonovis, acting as the advisor of citizen security of Mayor Alfredo Pena, addressed the protestors from a sound stage at “Plaza Meritocracia”, urging them not to continue beyond the previously designated and authorized point. After realizing that he had no impact on the determined crowd, Simonovis retired to his office where he remained until approximately 11:00 p.m. before going home.

            Protestors however, took it upon themselves to continue the massive opposition march to the “Miraflores” Presidential Palace, where upon arrival they demanded the resignation of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez Frias. As it is now well known, these events ended with President Hugo Chavez been briefly ousted from power and regaining control 48 hours later. Venezuelan media covered and recorded all of the events as they unfolded.

            On 11/22/04, two years and seven months after these events took place, Ivan Simonovis now retired from public service, was arrested by Interpol officers as he was boarding a plane to the US for business. At the time of his arrest, he had no warrant, detention order or legal notice prohibiting him from leaving the country. He was arrested anyway and indicted in connection with the events of April 11, 2002.


Ivan Simonovis, has never had any political affiliation and has always remained committed to serving his country as a policeman. He was hired by the Peña Administration as a security advisor to reduce crime rates and implement the “Bratton Plan”, a project aimed at replicating the successful plan implemented by former New York Police Chief William Bratton in the early 1990’s that significantly reduced criminality rate in New York. Simonovis could never finalize this project due to a heavy politically charged environment that made his vision impossible to materialize.

            Ivan Simonovis has been incarcerated since 11/22/04 and being charged with:

            1. “Accomplice in homicide described in degree of co-respective complicity”.            Co-respective complicity refers to the death(s) or injury(ies) for which a group of people are presumed to be responsible (but it cannot be determined who among them was individually responsible). Consequently, all members of the group are presumed to be equally responsible for these death(s) or injury(ies).

            2. “Personal injuries in degree of co-respective complicity”

            The District Attorney’s office has no incriminating evidence against Mr. Simonovis. They are charging him simply due to his position and affiliation with Mayor Pena, a known opponent of The Chavez Administration. In fact, Ivan Simonovis was never subpoenaed to testify, nor was there ever a warrant for his arrest. Several times the lawyer for Mr. Simonovis, Carlos Bastidas, contacted the District Attorney (D.A.) on the case, Danilo Anderson (now deceased), and asked if it was necessary that Ivan Simonovis testify. The D.A. expressed that it was not necessary because there was no case against him.

            The clearest evidence of Ivan’s innocence is the lack of evidence against him.  This is obvious due to the fact the Ivan Simonovis is being detained at the Directorate for Intelligence, Security and Prevention (DISIP) headquarters until the Prosecutors can put together their case.  Jail first, charges second.  This is hardly a fair and just system.  What happened to “innocent until proven guilty”? At the moment, the DA’s office is simply relying on testimonies of two former police commissioners, Gonzalo Sanchez and Emigdio Delgado.  It is widely know that these two officers were openly opposed to Mayor Pena and Mr. Simonovis and even tried to take over the direction of the Metropolitan Police.

            Gonzalo Sanchez testified that Ivan Simonovis had given him instructions to put a SUV at the entrance of a tunnel of a highway in Caracas so that he could prevent the military tanks from reaching the Presidential Palace in Miraflores.  Emigdio Delgado testified that he observed Ivan Simonovis at the stage in Chuao (as previously referred to) on April 11, 2002, speaking to protestors.  With these two testimonies, they intend to incriminate Simonovis with the death of two people occurring the evening hours of 4/11/02 around the Presidential Palace and the injuries to some others. As previously mentioned, Simonovis was not even present at the time.

            To the defenders of Simonovis these charges are extremely incongruent in establishing any relationship between these deaths / injuries and the actions of Ivan Simonovis. It seems clear that the Venezuelan Government is in violation of his human rights as outlined by the The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 10 which states, “Everyone is entitled in full equality to a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal, in the determination of his rights and obligations and of any criminal charge against him”.

            The case of Simonovis is to be tried by Maikel Moreno, the same defense lawyer who defended City Councilman Richard Peñalver, who was videotaped shooting at civilians from a bridge on April 11th.  Moreno has refused to recuse himself as judge from the case, despite the evident conflict of interest.

            Mr. Simonovis is a political prisoner, pure and simple.  He is being persecuted for his association with Alfredo Peña and other opponents of President Chavez, not for any criminal wrongdoing. Throughout his 20 plus years of public service, Mr. Simonovis displayed only the most progressive ideas about controlling police corruption, police abuse, and police violence.  Mr. Simonovis is an extraordinary man and great police manager. He exhibited a full understanding of the complexities of modernizing a police organization, including developing legitimate crime reporting, crime analysis, investigative functions, internal affairs functions and genuine community policing as referenced in his work with William Brattom, US Embassy (Venezuela), FBI (Venezuela), DEA (Venezuela), among others.

            I anxiously appeal to humanitarian grounds to intervene personally in this case to secure the immediate release of Ms. Simonovis from detention or to grant the right to an early, fair and open trial.

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