Venezuelan political prisoner Eligio Cedeno's representatives are visiting Brazil this week seeking what they call "urgent support against the ongoing abuses of human rights and political persecution by the Venezuelan government." They will have meetings in São Paulo and Brazilian capital BrasÀlia.Â
Cedeno, who is just one of dozens of high profile political prisoners in the country, is currently in legal limbo, as an appeals court of the Supreme Court of Justice has ordered his immediate release while the 38th control court has so far refused to free him.
"Brazil is a prestigious and respected regional leader, and part of the responsibility of this role is the defense of basic, universal rights," said Robert Amsterdam, international lawyer for Cedeno, and whose office is headquartered in Toronto and London.
"Right now we are witnessing the Venezuelan government's open interference in the judicial process, which poses enormous risks to Brazil as Venezuela's ascension to Mercosur is under consideration."
The pre-trial detention of Cedeno was first ordered in February, 2007, after he voluntarily reported to the authorities as part of an investigation into an alleged foreign exchange fraud. Though under Venezuelan law, the maximum term for pre-trial detention is two years, Cedeno has been held at the headquarters of the secret police (DISIP) for two years and eight months without full trial or conviction. His lawyers believe that the attack was motivated by Cedeno's financial support of key members of the opposition.
In the recent past, some high profile Brazilian leaders have taken note of Venezuela's political prisoners. On June 17th, Amsterdam was received by the President of the Brazilian Senate José Sarney to discuss the Cedeno case and how Venezuela's human rights abuses bear upon Mercosur negotiations. President Sarney and others have expressed their concern over these cases.
When there is a case involving the dismissal of 17 prosecutors, harassment of judges and even attempting kidnappings to discourage positive rulings, there is simply no way that the Brazilians can take any promise from Miraflores with sincerity, said Amsterdam.
"With the latest illegal conduct by the court, the mask is coming off the Chavez regime, and Brazil must be made aware that these same politically manipulated courts are often applied in business disputes."
More information about the Eligio Cedeno case and the situation of political prisoners in Venezuela can be found in the white paper entitled "Bolivarian Rule of Lawlessness," available on www.eligiocedeno.com and www.robertamsterdam.com/venezuela.
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