Political prisoners in Venezuela have testified to torturous methods used against them by the country’s authorities, which include the use of electroshock and nude torture, El Nacional has revealed.
Dianne de Díaz is the wife of a former sergeant for the Bolivarian National Guard who was imprisoned alongside eight other soldiers for allegedly planning a military uprising against Nicolás Maduro’s socialist dictatorship.
“He’s not the same person than when he came in,” Díaz said. “You can see sadness and abuse in the eyes. They have electrocuted them, put them to sleep naked, and given them water grains or water with sugar for food.” She added that her husband had lost over 15 kilos in weight since his imprisonment.
The men, who were arrested by the Venezuelan Directorate of Military Counterintelligence in Caracas, have been charged with crimes of treason and instigating an illegal rebellion, and have not been given access to a private defense.
Of the nine men arrested, six are currently being detained in a former poultry hatchery converted into a prison. Díaz said that those men are being held in a cell with about 20 other men alongside other political prisoners and have been exposed to tuberculosis due to lack of sanitary products in the prisons.
The claims add further weight to a recent report published by the United Nations into human rights in Venezuela, which found “extensive” and widespread repression of rights across Venezuela amid a political, economic and humanitarian crisis that has left millions starving and thousands dead, as well as the use of torture against political prisoners.
Meanwhile, the once United States ambassador to Venezuela and former United Nations Security Council President Diego Arria last month said that authorities were increasing “the use of torture, sex crimes, and systematic murder of unarmed civilians” amid growing resistance to the Maduro regime.
Last October, parents of multiple late prisoners in the western state of Táchira, Venezuela, also claimed the government did nothing to stop a notorious cannibal, known as the “People Eater,” from killing and eating their children—and forcing other prisoners to eat human flesh or face the same fate.
The regime, which recently consolidated his power through the creation of an illegal lawmaking body known as the “national constituents assembly” filled exclusively with Maduro supporters, continues to deny any wrongdoing.
Maduro last month declined to attend the United Nations Human Rights Council, amid worldwide condemnation of abuses. Maduro last spoke at the human rights forum in November 2015, where he decried the “ongoing harassment of the imperialist powers of the United States,” blaming them for leading an “economic war” against his socialist government.