Mérida, June 16, 2020 (venezuelanalysis.com) – Venezuela’s Attorney General Tarek William Saab ordered the arrest of Tupamaro party leader Jose Pinto in a press conference on Monday.
Sixteen-year-old George Soto’s body was reportedly found buried on Pinto’s property in Caruao, La Guaira State.
According to Saab, Soto was killed by Pinto’s bodyguards in an altercation on June 1, when he was reported missing. A witness who managed to escape claimed that he and Soto were accused of stealing from Pinto and that the bodyguards had acted on his instructions.
Venezuela’s investigative police body CICPC arrested the political leader in a raid on his home Monday afternoon.
For his part, Pinto denounced the incident as a “false positive,” accusing the La Guaira branch of the CICPC of having murdered Soto in order to frame him.
“The conspirators want to set up the false positive to attack us morally and physically, to get a judicial order and create a media campaign to take over the (Tupamaro) party,” he wrote on Twitter on Sunday.
The leftist Tupamaro party, which has generally run on a shared ticket with the ruling PSUV party in electoral contests, likewise condemned Pinto’s arrest, calling on President Maduro to address this “injustice.”
During Monday’s press conference, Saab also announced homicide charges against four officers of the Venezuelan National Police’s special operations command (FAES) for the alleged killing of five men, including a bodyguard of Prisons Minister Iris Varela, in the Caracas barrio of El Limón.
The top prosecutor revealed that on June 11, Wilmer Yanez, Andry Gonzalez, Pedro Salcedo, Arquimedes Fuenmayor and Roger Narváez were arrested in an early morning raid and taken to a nearby wooded area, where they were shot dead.
Popular movements have denounced the FAES’ heavy handed operations in popular neighborhoods, including extra-judicial killings.
In response to last week’s incident, Chavista human rights collective Surgentes demanded justice for the five men and all other victims of police violence. The collective had organized a campaign dedicated to the issue last year titled, “No more executions in the barrio.”
Saab, for his part, defended the record of public prosecutors, revealing Monday that 540 state security officers have been indicted since 2017, including 30 for alleged human rights violations, with 426 sentenced to prison.