“The health situation of political prisoners is getting more complicated every day,” warns an NGO

The state of health of the political prisoner Guillermo Zarragaan engineer and former PDVSA employee detained for two years and four months, alerted family members and human rights organizations about the health situation of political prisoners in Venezuela.

“My dad’s health is deteriorate more and more, he has lost a lot of weight and has presented cardiac syncope, which caused him a fall and subsequent blow”, denounced Diego Zárraga, son of the political prisoner.

The complaints about the deterioration of the health of many political prisoners are not new. Martha Tineodirector of the organization Justicia, Encuentro y Perdón (Rep), points out that in recent months they have seen how the health situation of some political detainees has become complicated.

This logically has to do with the prison conditionsTherefore, we know that in Venezuelan prisons the proper nutrition is not received. If they don’t have food or drinking water, much less do they have medical attention, ”he explains to firewood effect lawyer and human rights defender.

Although in some prisons there are health or nursing servicesthey do not have the necessary supplies to attend to the health complications of the inmates and it is the family members who have to provide the medicines and medical attention.

Tineo points out that the relatives they have basically all the responsibility to provide political prisoners with food, water, medicine and supplies for hygiene in the midst of a situation as complex as the complex humanitarian emergency that the country is going through.

“The health situation of these people is aggravating and it is getting worse every day. The majority of the political prisoners in Venezuela, to this day, are sick and many as a consequence of the torture of which they were victims from the moment of their arrest and others as a consequence of their own prison conditions”, he adds.

The human rights defender reiterates that the majority of the country’s political prisoners could be sick. Justice, Encounter and Forgiveness counts until Friday, March 17, 320 people detained for political reasons in the country.

More common diseases

Tineo explains that many of those deprived of liberty for political reasons have problems hepaticothers suffer from gastric diseases, hypertension, chronic headaches, muscle pain.

“Most diseases are again associated with problems gastricliver, hypertension and, of course, generalized pain as a consequence of the torture and the situation in which they find themselves”, says Tineo.

The human rights defender stresses that the prisoners with the most health problems in prisons are those who already had some own pathologies and these have become more acute throughout his years in prison.

“Also those who have received the strongest torture today they suffer from chronic pain, as well as psychological and emotional problems and panic attacks. There are political prisoners who suffer from cancer; We have a case of a person deprived of liberty for political reasons with cancer in the terminal phase and there has been no way for this person to be granted a humanitarian measure, for example”, he says.

Tineo recalled the case of the political prisoner Ermilendris Benitezwho is still confined in the Inof, despite being barely able to walk.

Another of the political prisoners in a delicate state of health is Leonardo Antonio Carrillo Primera, a retired soldier from the National Guard. He has been deprived of liberty in Ramo Verde since April 25, 2020 and suffers from hypertension and irritable bowel syndrome.

Many of the political prisoners are detained in jails far away to their places of residence, which further complicates the situation because when one of them falls ill, it is more difficult for relatives to get them the medicines and supplies they need to comply with any medical treatment.

“Family members and human rights organizations demand the release immediately of all the political prisoners of Venezuela to this day,” Tineo demanded.

What do international regulations say about medical care for prisoners?

According to the United Nations (UN) International Human Rights Standards for Correctional Officers, every detained person has the right to enjoy the highest possible level of physical and mental health.

The regulations also emphasize that it is the responsibility of the custodian that those deprived of liberty have free access to the medical treatment they need, as well as to request a second medical opinion on their illness, according to principle 24 of the UN Principles on detention or imprisonment. .

The UN establishes that in all prisons there must be medical care provided by a qualified doctor and that decisions about the health of an inmate will be made, respecting medical reasons, by duly qualified persons.

According to the Principles of medical ethics applicable to the role of health personnel, especially doctors, in the protection of prisoners and detainees against torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, medical personnel have the duty to provide imprisoned or detained persons the same level of quality of treatment that is provided to persons who are not imprisoned or detained.

Mission on Venezuela presents its report to the Human Rights Council

As of June 2022, according to the Report on the situation of Human Rights in Venezuela by the UN High Commissioner, the Public Ministry had 235 complaints about alleged violations of the human rights of persons deprived of liberty, including 20 related to persons facing charges related to terrorism.

During the reporting period, OHCHR documented at least 29 cases, including four women, in which requests for health examinations and medical transfers were not responded to promptly. Although some transfers were made, the next of kin claimed difficulties in receiving medical reports. Follow-up treatment has also been delayed in some cases. The competent authorities must take immediate action in all cases.

The High Commissioner’s report ends by calling on the authorities to ensure timely access to adequate medical care for all detainees and to consider alternatives to detention, including releases on humanitarian grounds in accordance with international human rights law.