The Gilber Caro case, a chronology

Gilber Caro, was one of the five parlamentarians unfairly incarcerated by the Nicolas Maduro regime. Picture: Cristian Hernández / EFE

By Acceso A la Justicia.

Gilber Caro, is a substitute representatives of the National Assembly and member of the opposition party “Voluntad Popular” (VP) who was arbitrarily detained by police. According to the Vice President of the Republic, Tareck El Aissami, the parliamentarian was “caught red-handed” in an act of terrorism, however, he was missing for more than a week and his parliamentary immunity was not taken into consideration.

Regarding his immunity, the President of the Republic, Nicolás Maduro, indicated that he did not enjoy such a prerogative as a substitute representative, although the Constitution does not make that distinction. But what the Constitution does say is, if an AN representative is arrested committing a crime, his place of confinement must be his home until the Supreme Court of Justice (TSJ in Spanish) considers prosecuting him and would request permission from Parliament. This was not properly done in the case of Gilber Caro, whose whereabouts were revealed after 11 days after his arrest.

January 11, 2017

His arrest happened while he moved down through the Regional del Centro highway in Carabobo State; He was accompanied by Steyci Escalona, also a VP leader, who lives in Switzerland and was on vacation in Venezuela at that time. At the Guacara toll, both were intercepted by agents of the Bolivarian National Intelligence Service (Sebin) at 11:20 a.m. approximately

Caro, who had already completed a 10-year prison sentence in the past, had been in prison despite his immunity as a member of the parliament. Humberto Prado, director of the non profit organization Observatorio Venezolano de la Violencia, who is an example of social reintegration as Caro, said: “Almost no ex convicted man holds a public office, and if he holds it, they do not speak of his past for fear of what people may think ”, however, it was perhaps the knowledge of his past that made Caro more vulnerable to enter the list of political prisoners in Venezuela, which to date amounted to a hundred.

January 22, 2017

Tarek William Saab, at that time ombudsman, reported through his Twitter account that Caro was registered at the 26 de Julio Penitentiary Center, in San Juan de los Morros, Guarico State. He explained that he had a conversation with the minister for the Penitentiary Service, Iris Varela, who confirmed the state of the representative and the place of detention. Later, the official posted images of the parliamentarian on Twitter making sure that he was receiving medical care and food.

“The fascists imagine that we would do what they do. Regardless of his crimes, the treatment is worthy “Varela wrote when posting the photos.

March 30, 2017

One of the chambers of the Supreme Court (TSJ in Spanish) ordered to send the representative’s case to a military court. Two magistrates saved their votes. One of them, Danilo Mojica, explained on Twitter that he considered that Caro had enjoyed parliamentary immunity since his proclamation. Despite what was said, the sentence made no reference to the fact that, at that time, Gilber Caro had not been presented to any court, despite the fact that the Constitution establishes a period of 48 hours for it. Let’s remember that this procedure is not a parliamentary privilege but a right that has every detained person.

May 9, 2017

Lawyer Theresly Malavé denounced the arbitrary transfer of the deputy to the “New Man” Training Center in Tocuyito, Carabobo State.

June 1, 2017

The newspaper El Universal, among other media, reviewed the holding of Caro’s presentation hearing, almost six months after his arrest, before a military court that ratified a preventive detention measure against him, for the crimes of treason to the homeland and subtraction of effects of the Bolivarian National Armed Forces (FANB in Spanish). Therefore, Caro was not only violated his rights as a representative but also as a citizen, as we remember that the presentation hearing must be held within 48 hours of arrest.

After that hearing, Malavé transmitted the testimony given at the event by Caro: “They are giving him two cups of rice a day or an arepa without filling, and they are not allowing his family members to bring him food. Gilber has lost 14 kilos and already has the skin glued to the bones. These events represent a form of torture to which a representative from Venezuela is being subjected. ” He added that also required urgent medical attention because his health was deteriorating.

Currently the deputy’s case is in the intermediate phase; As the military prosecutor has presented an accusation, it is appropriate to call a preliminary hearing so that the judge analyzes the viability of the accusation and Caro has the opportunity to defend himself.

September 11, 2017

Gilber Caro started a hunger strike. He demanded that the military court handling his case be transferred to the Ramo Verde prison in Los Teques. All this despite the fact that on August 29 the Carabobo military judge had ordered it but it was not complied with.

By September 14, he was still on a hunger strike. His defense denounced that he was not allowed to visit him.

September 19, 2017

The deputy lifted the hunger strike due to fainting. His lawyer was able to see him and assured that he was promised his transfer to Ramo Verde.

October 5, 2017

The preliminary hearing continues without holding. By October 5, it was the sixth time that she was suspended “for administrative procedures”, along with that of Steyci Escalona. He is still imprisoned in Tocuyito prison.

“The cell where he is in is dark and he gets wet every time it rains, he has already had the flu several times. He is very skinny and weak. A long time ago he suffered from tuberculosis, I don’t want him to go through the same thing again” his sister Yeydi Caro told the media.

March 2, 2018

Caro was transferred from the “New Man” Training Center, located in Tocuyito, Carabobo state, to the Fénix prison (Lara state) due to an alleged plan to escape. No authority referred to the case.

March 4, 2018

After 48 hours without his family members having contact with Caro, and demanding proof of life, the daily “Últimas Noticias” published a 17-second video where the deputy was seen receiving lunch.

May 15, 2018

The sixth military judge, Major Luz Mariela Santafé Acevedo, ordered the transfer of the deputy to the Ramo Verde prison, in Los Teques, Miranda state. His defense attributed the change “after the deplorable state of health of the parliamentarian became evident”, after 72 days of isolation. He also reported that due to the consumption of contaminated food and water, he suffered from amebiasis and had lost eight kilos of weight.

June 2, 2018

Representative Caro was released from prison in the context of a process of releases with restrictive measures requested by the Government from the judiciary, which included several political prisoners. He left prison a day after having the letter of release.

June 5, 2018

Caro was sworn in in the National Assembly (AN), after spending a year and five months in jail.

April 26, 2019

The representative Caro was arbitrarily arrested once again at dawn, and so far nothing is known about him.

April 29, 2019

The director of the NGO, Foro Penal, Alfredo Romero told a press conference that this organization had information that the representative Giber Caro was in Helicoide, one of the headquarters of the Sebin, however that Information has not yet been confirmed by the security agency.

May 3, 2019

The office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights asked Nicolás Maduro on Friday to reveal the whereabouts of opposition representative Gilber Caro.

May 7, 2019

His lawyer reported that the control court revoked the precautionary measures against the parliamentarian and issued an alleged arrest warrant prior to his arrest. The representative’s whereabouts are still unknown.

May 15, 2019

The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights granted protection measures to the parliamentarian

May 26, 2019

One month after the arbitrary arrest of deputy Gilber Caro, the place of detention is not officially known.

June 17, 2019

After almost two months of the arbitrarily detention, the representative Gilber Caro is released.

December 20, 2019

For the third time, representative Gilber Caro is detained. They also detained his assistant, the journalist Victor Ugas.

December 21, 2019

The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, expressed on Twitter her concern about the arrest of Gilbert Caro and Victor Ugas, on December 20, by security forces. At the same time, they urged the authorities to respect the right to due process and to refrain from intimidating acts against members of the AN for the exercise of their rights.

December 22, 2019

Presumably on this date, the detainees Caro and Ugas were reportedly transferred to the Second Special Court in Control functions with jurisdiction in cases related to crimes associated with the terrorism of Caracas, in charge of judge Hilda Villanueva. In this Court, a presentation hearing was held with public defenders. The representatives indicated that their private attorney would not have been allowed to enter. In the hearing, a measure of preventive judicial detention was decreed.

December 26, 2019

The National Assembly through Twitter account @AsambleaVe demanded to know the whereabouts of deputy Gilber Caro and journalist Victor Ugas and, in the same way, demanded that both be released immediately.

January 8, 2020

Gilber Caro’s lawyer, Theresly Malavé informed the media that, after going to the official entities, the place where Caro and Ugas would be held has not been found, and the physical and psychological state of both is unknown.

January 10, 2020

Attorney General Tarek William Saab told the media that Gilber Caro is being detained at PNB headquarters.

The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights issued a Resolution (2/2020) whereby it benefits Víctor Ugas with precautionary measures. In the resolution, was expressed that Gilber Caro was at least three times detained by state agents and the second time that his whereabouts were not reported, after this detention.

January 17, 2020

They release Victor Ugas, journalist and assistant to deputy Gilber Caro.

January 20, 2020

After a month of disappearance, the lawyer of the representative Gilber Caro informed to the media that he could see and talk to him.

June 20, 2020

Representative Gilber Caro still in jail, and complete there 6 months.

July 27 2020

The lawyer Theresly Malavé, defender of representative Caro, went to the Public Ministry for the conditions in which the parlamentarian is being held with 7 months of detention. He explained that the Caro’s sister on a visit was able to verify that at the FAES headquarters, a place of confinement, they have her brother under a ladder and do not provide him with food or liquid.

August 31 2020

More than 8 months after his unfair arrest, representative Gilber Caro is released as a result of a pardon announced hours before and that benefited dozens of other political prisoners.

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This research and publication was made by the Venezuelan non profit organization Acceso a la Justicia (Posted on June 20th 2020)

Translation. Xavier Rodríguez Franco