February 24, 2017
NGO’s top directors brand Latin America ‘most violent and unequal’
The directors of Amnesty International’s branches in Argentina and Venezuela have again called on their governments of both nations to release political prisoners, warning them for what the NGO perceives as their worsening human rights record, in a press conference at Amnesty International’s offices in Buenos Aires.
Amnesty International Venezuela Director Marcos Gómez began by criticising the Emergency Decree recently issued by Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro adopting “discriminatory measures” that the executive claims will have “an almost criminal effect on the poor.”
Gómez also outlined his worries about systemic arbitrary detentions, and how the intelligence services in Venezuela is not following through with judicial rulings ordering the release of 18 prisoners. Civilians are also being tried in military tribunals, the NGO’s director warned, adding that journalists and human rights defenders are being persecuted and targeted by government-led media campaigns.
One of the human rights prisoners currently being detained is Argentine human rights lawyer Marcelo Crovato, who was first arrested in Caracas, Venezuela, in 2014.
Referring to two high-profile prisoners, both Gómez and Argentine Amnesty Director Mariela Belski stressed that demanding the release of Venezuelan politician Leopoldo López and Argentine activist Milagro Sala from jail were top priorities for the organisation. López is a Venezuelan politician who was first arrested in February 2014, and was later convicted of public incitement to violence.