Last Monday, at around 6:30 pm, my brother was arrested during one of the protests here in Caracas. The thing is that he wasn’t even at the place of the protest at the moment, he was visiting a friend of his who lives in an apartment building close to the place where the protest was taking place. My brother and his friend were on the ground floor of the building playing soccer with some kids.
When the National Police showed up and started shooting tear gas at protesters most of them started to flee and some of the students that were protesting ran towards the building to hide from the NP. A lady that was there opened up the door to let the students come in, but what no one expected was that the NP rushed into the building, violently entering into private property without a warrant! They marched into the lobby of the building and three officers seized my brother who heard the commotion and went to see what was going up. They dragged him out to the streets and locked him up in a truck.
It was agony when my family heard the news; we were looking for him all over the place. We found out that he was taken to a station on the other side of the city and he wasn’t allowed any visitors, not even family or lawyers! We did, however, get to speak with him on the phone and he said he was all right. He spent the night cuffed to a bar with two other detainees in a cell with space for one.
Tuesday morning we went to the police station and spoke with our lawyers and they said that he was supposed to be taken to a court for a hearing but that the time of the hearing hadn’t been set yet. This lawyer has had recent experience with similar cases due to all the things that have been going up here in Venezuela, and he said that what they usually did was drag the whole thing for as long as they can to tire and demoralize the detainees, their lawyers, and their family. That day my dad was allowed to see him for a little time because he appealed to the humanity and the better nature of the chief of the station. The hearing was supposed to be Tuesday at 10 am, but they dragged it long enough to postpone it until Wednesday. Note that if it hadn’t been for us that brought him food to the station he wouldn’t have eaten anything that day!
Today he was transported to the court house at 6:30 am and that’s were he remained until the hearing which started at 5 pm. During all that time he wasn’t given any food or water, they made him wait standing up, they had him strip and searched him for any concealed weapons, and was constantly verbally abused by the officers.
The hearing was private, meaning no family of friends allowed, only the judge, prosecution, defense, and him were present. He was charged with Disruption of public order and resisting arrest. Obviously he wasn’t disrupting anything if he was in a private property playing soccer, and there’s footage from the security cam of the building that proofs that. And as to the resisting arrest he was taken by surprise by three armed officers and savagely dragged out to the streets, he did struggle but who wouldn’t? They entered a residential building without a warrant!
When the hearing ended, he was allowed to go free but he has to go back to stand trial for his “crimes” when they set a date and examine the case again.
This is just a little example of the level of corruption we have to live with in Venezuela, a country where the National Police can march into a private residence and drag a person out and arrest them with no warrant and no proof that they did anything wrong. A country where someone is detained and kept under inhuman conditions, not being given any food or water, and not being able to see a lawyer until five minutes before the trial, and not to mention family and friends.
My brother’s experience is one of the reasons we need to get rid of this lot of incompetents we have for a government. I for once, will not let this happen to anyone else, and so, I’ll keep protesting and fight against this tyrannical regime.