Eight Police Officers Accused of Killings in April Coup to Face Trial

A judge rules that the indictments against eight metropolitan police officers accused of killings during the April 2002 coup attempt may go to trial.

On Wednesday, a judge ruled that a trial could be held against eight police officers of the Caracas metropolitan police, who are accused of shooting demonstrators on April 11, 2002, during the confrontations that eventually led to the failed coup against President Chavez.

The eight police officers have already been under arrest for a while. They are members of the police force that is directed by Mayor Alfredo Peña, who is one of President Chavez’s most ardent opponents. Numerous pieces of evidence have emerged since the failed coup, which indicate that the deaths that occurred on the day of the coup were planned by leaders of the opposition, in order to blame these on the president and then use them as an excuse for ousting him.

In an interview with the BBC, the prosecutor who is filing the charges said, “Since it has not been possible to prove precisely who caused the deaths, but since it is known that all of them had high potency weapons, such as M16, HK35 and HK33, they are being accused of complicity in the homicides, which is a felony identified in our legal code.”

The police officers are being accused of killing Erasmo Sánchez and Rudy Urbano Duque. Also, they are being accused of attempted murder, injury, and impermissible use of weapons of war against 25 other victims.

Four Chavez supporters, who had also been accused of shooting people the day of the coup, were freed nine months ago, due to a lack of evidence. The Chavez supporters maintained their innocence, saying that they were acting in self-defense and firing against police officers who were shooting at them. Amateur video footage and eye-witness reports confirmed that the TV footage which claims to be showing the Chavez-supporters shooting at unarmed demonstrators is false because that footage never shows what or whom these were firing at. Rather, it is well-established that the pro-Chavez demonstrators were being fired at by the metropolitan police.

For related reports see:

BBC manipulates information about the April Coup attempt (in Spanish)

Opposition-Controlled Police Acted as Sharpshooters During Coup D’etat of 2002