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  General Baduel, victim of the Venezuelan regime’s lack of commitment to comply with United Nations recommendations

headquarters of the sebin ¨the tomb¨

Despite the recommendations made by the United Nations High Commissioner, Michel
Bachelet, on mechanisms to curb the cruel and inhuman treatment that has been evidenced in
Venezuelan detention centers, the State has not complied with these measures satisfactorily.
This is evidenced in the case of the deceased general Raúl Isaías Baduel who, according to the
version of the prosecutor imposed by the national constituent assembly, Tarek Willian Saab,
died of a cardiorespiratory arrest as a result of COVID-19, while medical care was being
applied.
But if General Baduel had been transferred from “LaTumba” (detention center for political
prisoners, run by the Bolivarian National Intelligence Service, SEBIN) on September 29, 2021,
to another SEBIN headquarters known as “El Helicoide”, several questions arise:

  1. “The Tomb” is a detention center located in the fifth basement of a building, without
    ventilation or natural light, where people remain in total isolation. So, can someone in strict
    isolation get COVID-19?
  2. Presidential decree 4610 of May 12, 2021 orders that both the SEBIN and the General
    Directorate of Military Counterintelligence (DIGICIM) should transfer to the Ministry for the
    Penitentiary Service “the exercise of the functions of custody of persons deprived of liberty,
    within a period of thirty (30) days from the entry into force of this Decree”. How is the transfer
    of Baduel from one SEBIN headquarters to another understood, after about 4 months have
    elapsed since the promulgation of a decree that was to be executed in 30 days?
  3. If the detainee was infected with COVID-19, why was he transferred to another detention
    center, in breach of the biosafety protocols established to prevent the spread of the
    coronavirus?

It is worrying that OHCHR has celebrated the announcement about the closure of the
aforementioned detention centers, without having tangible evidence of compliance with the
measure. Equally, it is disturbing that High Commissioner Bachelet has recognized the alleged
implementation of biosecurity protocols related to COVID-19 in detention centers. In this
regard, Alert Venezuela considers that announcements cannot be held without first making a
proper evaluation of tangible results.
The death of General Baduel under these circumstances should pave the way for a more
rigorous monitoring of the real human rights situation in Venezuela by the Office of the United
Nations High Commissioner, to verify that the Venezuelan regime is effectively complying with
its recommendations.