Key Suspect in Venezuelan Prosecutor’s Murder Turns Himself In

Nelson Mezerhane, a prominent Venezuelan businessman and part-owner of one of the country's main opposition television stations, turned himself. following a week-long police effort to arrest him. His first hearing has been delayed.

November 16, 2005, Caracas, Venezuela—Nelson Mezerhane, who has been indicted for being a mastermind of the murder of Venezuelan State Prosecutor Danilo Anderson, faced a courtroom delay yesterday, after the judge assigned to his case recused herself and a new one was assigned to the case. 

This latest event came after Mezerhane, partial owner of Venezuelan opposition television station Globovision, turned himself into the Caracas court on Monday. Authorities had been looking for him for a week and a half. He attributed his delayed appearance to being out of the country. 

Two of the three other people accused of planning the murder earlier this month, Retired General Eugenio Añez Núñez and anti-Cuban activist Salvador Romaní were quickly arrested. The other, opposition journalist Patricia Poleo, is still in hiding.

Mr. Anderson was murdered almost a year ago while investigated some 400 people, many said to be part of Venezuela’s business elite, for their involvement in the brief April coup that removed President Hugo Chávez Frías from power for two days and dissolved the National Assembly and constitution. A car bomb went off in Mr. Anderson’s SUV about five minutes after he left a university graduate course in Los Chaguaramos, Caracas, according to the Venezuela scientific police (CICPC).  

Shortly after his murder, three people, Rolando Guevara, Otoniel Guevara, and Juan Bautsta Guevara, were charged with planting the bomb. Earlier this month, Mezerhane was charged, along with the three others, with the planning of the attack. 

According to court documents, Mezerhane, who is co-owner of the Venezuelan oppositional television station Globovision, was accused by Giovani Jose Vasquez De Armas, a key witness for the prosecution, of attending meetings in Panama, Miami, and Maracaibo, where the killing of Anderson was planned. Mezerhane’s lawyer maintains his innocence, saying that there is absolutely no truth to the charges against his client.

According to public prosecutors, Vasquez, a member of United Self-Defense Forces of Columbia (AUC), a Columbian right wing paramilitary group, has admitted to having been in charge of the logistics of Danilo Anderson’s murder. Vasquez has also implicated the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation and Central Intelligence Agency agents as being complicit in the assassination. 

Merzerhane is currently being held in a private cell in the headquarter’s of Venezuela’s secret police.