Two Prisoners Arrested During 2014 Barricades Released

Venezuelan authorities have released prisoners Gerardo Resplandor and Douglas Morillo. Both men were arrested last year for inciting violence during the protests commonly known as the barricades.

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Resplandor (left) and Morillo (right) were both released on Tuesday night (archives)
Resplandor (left) and Morillo (right) were both released on Tuesday night (archives)
By Rachael Boothroyd
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Caracas, June 25th 2015 (venezuelanalysis.com) - Venezuelan authorities have freed two prisoners arrested in Caracas last year for inciting violence during the protests commonly known as the barricades.  

Students Douglas Morillo (23) and Gerardo Resplandor (25) were arrested on April 25th and May 8th of last year and have since been in custody at the Venezuelan Intelligence Service’s (SEBIN) headquarters.  

Venezuela’s chief Ombudsman, Tarek William Saab, confirmed that both were released this Tuesday evening following the intervention of the national legal institution under his remit. 

The two men will still face charges for instigating violence during the protests which led to the deaths of at least 43 people. 

The move comes after Saab announced on his Twitter account on June 11th that he would officially petition the Venezuelan Supreme Court for humanitarian measures to be considered for a number of prisoners arrested in connection to the barricades.  

While both Resplandor and Morillo are in reputable health, the Ombudsman has confirmed that he had also officially requested that “alternative measures” to incarceration be taken in the case of prisoner Andres Leon. Leon, who suffers from a congenital disease, was subsequently released this Thursday night after a deterioration in his health.  

Following the liberation of Resplandor and Morrillo, twelve activists from the hardcore rightwing group JAVU (Active Youth, United Venezuela) confirmed that they would cease the hunger strike that they had been carrying out since May 27th. 

The group claimed it was acting in solidarity with jailed politicians, Leopoldo Lopez and Daniel Ceballos, who commenced high-profile hunger strikes on that date. Yet the JAVU activists outlasted both Ceballos and Lopez, who officially renounced their hunger strikes on June 11th and June 23rd

Longtime human rights activist Saab was named as chief Ombudsman in December by the Venezuelan National Assembly. He has received considerable praise for his tenure so far. 

The opposition claims that 75 of their “activists” are still in jail due to their participation in the barricades, which were also infiltrated by paramilitaries

Several other prisoners could also be released over the coming days.