(Caracas) The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights on Wednesday called for an “independent investigation” into the death in custody in Venezuela of General Raul Baduel, 66, one of the most famous Venezuelan political prisoners.
“We regret the death in custody of Raul Baduel. We call on Venezuela to guarantee an independent investigation, ”the High Commission wrote on Twitter on Wednesday.
The UN is also calling for medical treatment for all detainees and the release of those arbitrarily imprisoned.
Venezuela’s Attorney General Tarek William Saab announced the death on Tuesday assuring that the 66-year-old general had died of COVID-19 after receiving treatment and a first dose of vaccine.
Andreina Baduel, the general’s daughter, accused the “regime” of “murdering” her father, saying on Twitter that it was “wrong that he had COVID-19”.
The Venezuelan authorities reacted on Wednesday to the UN statement issuing a statement without citing the name of General Baduel.
“There are no people arbitrarily detained in the country”, according to the text which ensures that the rights of “all persons deprived of their liberty” are guaranteed and that they benefit from medical care.
“Venezuela regrets that the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights systematically gives in to pressure from groups that use human rights for political ends while forgetting about the structural reforms of the United Nations. Venezuelan State to strengthen the rights of detained persons, ”the authorities added.
General Baduel had helped ex-President Hugo Chavez (1999-2013) to regain power during the 2002 coup attempt in Venezuela.
Then brigade commander based in Maracay (200 km west of Caracas), he announced his attachment to the Constitution and allowed Hugo Chavez, who was in the hands of the putschists, to regain power.
Rewarded with a ministerial post, he then became an opponent of power and was jailed for eight years for corruption. Released in 2015, he was arrested again, this time accused of conspiracy. He has been degraded and removed from the army cadres.
Two sons of Raul Baduel have also been charged with conspiracy. Raul Emilio Baduel is currently at large, but Josnars Adolfo Baduel was arrested, accused of having participated in an attempted maritime invasion that failed in 2020 and whose goal was to overthrow President Nicolas Maduro, successor to Hugo Chavez .
The death of Raul Isaias Baduel “brings to ten the number of political prisoners who have died in detention” since 2015, said on Tuesday lawyer Gonzalo Himiob, of the NGO Foro Penal which defends the rights of detainees.