Target: Nicolás Maduro Moros, President of Venezuela
Goal: Free ailing political prisoner sentenced to 30 years without evidence of a crime
Ivan Simonovis, former Venezuelan Secretary of Public Safety, was sentenced in 2009 to 30 years in prison for his perceived role in a violent opposition demonstration. Though there was no evidence to prove his guilt, he was charged with “complicity” in the deaths of two demonstrators.
Out of nearly 6,000 photos and videos of the Venezuelan coup in April of 2002, the testimony of 48 experts and nearly 200 witnesses, none presented any evidence of Simonovis’ involvement. Sixty-seven men were positively identified, supporters of then-President Hugo Chavez, shooting unarmed demonstrators. These men were all acquitted or pardoned of their crimes, while Simonovis remains imprisoned without reasonable evidence.
Serving his sentence not in a jail but in the basement of Caracas’ police headquarters, Simonovis lives without ventilation or natural light. He leaves his four-square-meter cell only once every two weeks, for two hours of outdoor time. In a year, he gets just over two days worth of time outside. Visits from friends, family, journalists, and representatives of human rights organizations are severely limited, a violation of several human rights agreements signed by Venezuela.
Because the cell is not designed for extended confinement, Ivan suffers many physical and mental health problems. He reports having 19 diseases, some of which require medical attention and even surgery, which have remained untreated during his imprisonment. His health is at a critical point- degenerative diseases paired with lack of medical attention can result in complications and death.
Simonovis is not alone- Venezuela holds over 40 political prisoners, incarcerated for their accused roles in political dissidence. Ask President Nicolás Maduro Moros to grant amnesty to Simonovis and an end to this clear violation of human rights.
Dear President Nicolás Maduro Moros,
Former Venezuelan Secretary of Public Safety Ivan Simonovis has been imprisoned since 2004 in the basement of the Caracas Police headquarters. Here in his four-square-meter cell, he lives without ventilation or natural light, and is only allowed one hour of outdoor time per week. He suffers from 19 mental and physical diseases, exacerbated by the conditions of his incarceration, and left untreated by police officials. Visitation with family, friends, non-government organizations, and journalists have been severely limited.
Mr. Simonovis was convicted for complicity in relation to the deaths of two opposition demonstrators in the 2002 coup, without positive identification from photographic evidence, or any witnesses to his involvement. Sixty-seven men, positively identified, have all been released despite evidence of shooting unarmed protesters. Simonovis is imprisoned without basis, in poor health, and in need of release. I humbly ask that he be granted a pardon due to the lack of evidence against him.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Christina Xu via WikiMedia Commons