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UN rights chief slams Venezuela over political prisoners

Published on September 13, 2021

UN rights chief Michelle Bachelet on Monday denounced the “intimidation and criminalisation” of political prisoners in Venezuela and called for their release.

Bachelet, a former Chilean president, said she was worried by the “intimidation and criminalisation of rights activists and trade union leaders.”

She also called for the “release of all people held arbitrarily”, underlining that 152 prisoners had been freed since 2020.

The Venezuelan foreign ministry denied the allegations as fantasy conjured by “those who want to use these issues to attack” the country, in the throes of a long-standing political crisis.

The Foro rights monitor says there are 262 political prisoners in the country.

Bachelet said she hoped talks launched between the government and the opposition in August in Mexico would “lead to significant solutions and translate into real advances on human rights”.

Previous rounds of similar negotiations in recent years have failed to resolve the crisis.