Release of Venezuelan Detainees Instills Motivation to Keep Speaking Up

Human rights lawyers Orlando Gonzalez and Oscar Rios of Foro Penal, detained on May 16 by FAES, special forces of the National Police, where released Thursday, 16 May, after 24 hours in detention in Táchira state in western Venezuela.

According to Raquel Sanchez, the Foro Penal coordinator in Táchira, they were however charged with “resisting authorities” and can be called to present themselves at the court at any moment. Their mobile phones were also confiscated, which creates concern about the integrity of their clients.

“The fact that they were released is nevertheless encouraging. If Foro Penal had not made immediate calls for action from their international partners as Civil Rights Defenders and others, the two lawyers would most likely still be in prison,” said Raquel Sanchez.

“While instilling a spirit of hope, it should also give force to the continued struggle to stop unlawful detaining of human rights defenders in the country. We must also keep fighting for the release of all political prisoners and arbitrary detained activists,” said Erik Jennische, Programme Director for Latin America at Civil Rights Defenders.

Film clip showing the detention of Oscar Rios:

Also read: Calling for the Immediate Release of Detained Venezuelan Lawyers