The Catholic Church in Venezuela has called for the release of human rights activists Javier Tarazona, Jose Rafael Tarazona and Omar de Dios Garcia, who have been detained since July on charges of “defamation”.
In a statement distributed on Monday (local time), the Venezuelan Bishops Conference also called for the provision of reliable information about the health of human rights activists, who are said to be all three patients with the Covid-19 virus.
Work in an NGO Fundaredes
The activists were arrested by officials belonging to the same institution they had previously accused of specific human rights violations, according to the bishops. The three detainees work for the non-governmental organization “Fondarides”, which reported massacres in the border area between Colombia and Venezuela.
Alleged preparation for military intervention
According to the Venezuelan Prosecutor’s Office, the activists were arrested on charges of “defamation”. They reported links between state officials and former Colombian guerrilla groups ELN or FARC, which are said to be active in Venezuela. The Public Prosecutor, Tariq William Saab, accused them of receiving instructions from abroad with the aim of preparing for a military intervention and disrupting order in the country. Rights organizations such as Amnesty and Human Rights Watch criticized the arrests of the activists.
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