Weekly Report - 14 October 2021 (WR-21-41)

Death of prominent Venezuelan political prisoner fuels controversy

One of Venezuela’s most high-profile political prisoners, General Raúl Isaías Baduel, died on 12 October. An estranged former comrade-in-arms of the late president Hugo Chávez (1999-2013), Baduel had been languishing in jail, bar a brief hiatus out on parole, since 2009. His death shone an uncomfortable spotlight on the treatment of political prisoners in Venezuela. The attorney general, Tarek William Saab, insisted on 13 October that Baduel had died of a heart attack brought on after catching coronavirus (Covid-19); Baduel’s daughter accused the government of having murdered him. The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) said it was “deeply saddened” by Baduel’s passing and called for “an independent investigation”.

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