Emirlendris Benítez is a 42-year-old mother and tradeswoman who was arbitrarily detained in August 2018 and subjected to torture. Guillermo Zárraga is a 59-year-old engineer and former oil industry unionist arbitrarily detained in November 2020 and tried for crimes for which there was no evidence. They both suffer from grave health conditions, because of acts of torture, in Emirlendris’ case, and inhumane prison conditions. Both individuals are currently unfairly detained in prisons under the responsibility of the Minister for Penitentiary Affairs. We call on her to protect their lives and health and ensure they receive immediate and adequate medical attention.
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Celsa Bautista Ontiveros
Minister of Penitentiary Affairs
Ministerio del Poder Popular para Asuntos Penitenciarios,
Avenida Venezuela, Edificio Platinum,
Urbanización El Rosal, Municipio Chacao,
Consulate of Venezuela in Boston
Consul General Mr. Omar Fernando Sierra
545 Boylston Street, 3th Floor Boston Massachusetts 02116 United States
Phone: (617) 266-9368
Email: [email protected]
Dear Ms. Bautista Ontiveros,
I am deeply concerned for the lives of Emirlendris Benítez and Guillermo Zárraga, who are unfairly imprisoned in your custody. Guillermo Zárraga is currently held at Yare II Prison waiting for a new trial to begin, in Miranda state, while Emirlendris is serving a draconian and unfounded 30-year sentence at the INOF center at Los Teques, Caracas. Both individuals are in critical need of medical attention.
Emirlendris Benítez’s health situation is critical because of the grave human rights violations she has suffered since her arrest in August 2018, including arbitrary detention, torture, gender-based violence, discrimination, unfair trial, and inhumane prison conditions. She has seen her human right to health repeatedly denied by authorities under your responsibility. Guillermo Zárraga has been unfairly detained since November 2020. During his unfair imprisonment, he has suffered severe weight loss, cardiac episodes, and has fainted repeatedly due to malnourishment. Prison authorities are arbitrarily restricting his access to basic needs such as food, medicines, and other basic convenience goods.
Emirlendris Benítez and Guillermo Zárraga should be immediately and unconditionally released. Pending their release, you must guarantee their life, health, and safety. We urge you to urgently grant them access to trusted and adequate medical care.