On 13 July 2020, unidentified officers showed up at Nicmer Evans’ home and, after harassing his wife and family, arbitrarily detained him. He was held incommunicado until 17 July, when he was brought before a court without informing his lawyers and family, denying him the right to a fair trial. During this hearing, Nicmer was accused of “advocacy of hatred”, based on messages on social media that allegedly “expressed opinions that go against the ideology of Nicolas Maduro”. According to his lawyers, the evidence brought against him by the public prosecution did not specifically identify or indicate the tweets or public expressions in which the “advocacy of hatred” would have allegedly materialized. Copies or screenshots of the alleged incriminating messages were not even recorded in the files. Since then, he remained in custody of the DGCIM.
On 31 August, authorities announced a ‘pardon’ for 110 individuals in prison, conditionally released, have sought protection in foreign embassies in Caracas or fled the country. These 110 people include several cases for whom Amnesty has campaigned, including Nicmer Evans, as well as prisoner of conscience and union leader Rubén González, Maury Carrero, Gilber Caro, and Renzo Prieto. Nicmer was unconditionally released on 1 September.
Whilst we strongly reject any pretence that this measure implies recognition of criminal responsibility of Nicmer or others, we welcome this measure insofar as it grants unconditional freedom to many who never should have been jailed, prosecuted, or whose freedom has been curtailed by unjust restrictions and conditions.
Amnesty has received numerous reports of how its campaigns for individuals at risk in Venezuela influence decision makers and help channel solidarity to victims and their families. We sincerely thank every people who took action on behalf of Nicmer.