Amnesty accuses Venezuela of extrajudicial executions


Amnesty International on Thursday accused Venezuela’s security forces of thousands of extrajudicial executions targeting mainly poor young men.

According to the report, COFAVIC, a Venezuelan non-governmental organisation representing relatives of victims, has documented 6,385 cases of extrajudicial executions that occurred between 2012 and 2017.

The cases increased from 1,018 in 2014 to 2,379 in 2016.

An Amnesty press release put the number of extrajudicial executions at 8,292 between 2015 and 2017 alone.

Venezuela’s attorney general’s office, meanwhile, said that 4,667 people died at the hands of security officials in 2016.

In 2017, 1,848 people died in the same circumstances between January and June, the Amnesty report quoted the office as saying.

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“In the context of security operations, state officials, adopting a militarized approach to policing, have regularly used excessive and abusive force and, in some cases, have used lethal force with the intent to kill,’’ Amnesty said.

Human rights violations that Amnesty has documented in Venezuela since the late 1990s include cases of torture, ill-treatment and extrajudicial executions by security forces.

According to the report, such cases are often attributed to armed confrontations and the victims are branded as criminals, although in reality they were protesters or unarmed people,.

“The South American country is among the most violent in the world, with a homicide rate of 89 per 100,000 people.

“The majority of the victims killed by both the security forces and criminals are young men from poor neighbourhoods.

“In 2017, 95 per cent of the victims were boys and men aged between 12 and 44 years,’’ Amnesty said. 2018