Target: Gabriela del Mar Ramírez, Human Rights Ombudsman
Goal: Ensure that imprisoned human rights activist is given access to medical care and is granted safety from torture
Venezuelan human rights activist Luis Rafael Escobar Ugas has been held in prison for months following his participation in a protest. He has been tortured while in custody and suffers from medical conditions that require immediate attention. Sign the petition and demand that the Venezuelan government do all in its power to keep Luis Rafael Escobar Ugas safe and healthy.
This is hardly the first time Luis Rafael Escobar Ugas has been jailed for his activism. He has been kidnapped and tortured three times, first in 1996 and again in 2007 and 2010. He was also previously arrested in 2010 for his role in a protest regarding “the conditions of prisons and the delays in the criminal justice system,” according to Amnesty International. He was eventually released without being charged.
His current imprisonment stems from his involvement in a housing protest, wherein he was charged with resisting authority and illegal occupation. He claims that after his arrest he was hung by his wrists and beaten by police. Despite this treatment, a judge has ordered him held until his trial, a situation that places him at great risk for further ill-treatment. In fact, he has already reportedly been held in an overcrowded cell and knifed by another inmate.
Furthermore, Luis Rafael Escobar Ugas suffers from “acute dermatitis and an infection that prevents him from urinating properly,” reports Amnesty International. He needs immediate access to medical care for both conditions, something authorities have apparently been unwilling to allow him.
All inmates, no matter their crimes (or lack thereof), have the right to medical care and the right to be safe from torture and ill-treatment. Sign the petition and remind Venezuela of its obligations under international human rights laws.
Luis Rafael Escobar Ugas has been in police custody since March, awaiting trial for charges of illegal occupation and resistance to authority stemming from his role in a housing protest. He has reported being tortured while held in custody, and he is apparently being denied access to medical care for an infection and for his acute dermatitis. Venezuela has an obligation under international human rights laws to protect all inmates in its custody, regardless of their crimes. I therefore demand that Luis Rafael Escobar Ugas’s case be reviewed and his situation be amended in the following ways:
1. That he is granted immediate access to the medical care he requires, both for his acute dermatitis and for his infection;
2. That he is guaranteed safety from torture and ill-treatment, and that his claims of torture and fully and seriously investigated;
3. That those responsible for his torture are brought to justice, regardless of their position within law enforcement, government, or politics;
4. That his trial commences immediately and reaches a swift and just conclusion, and that he is granted freedom from prison while he awaits trial.
Luis Rafael Escobar Ugas is just as deserving of fair treatment under the law as you are yourself, Ombudswoman, regardless of whether or not his actions and political views are favorably or unfavorably received by those in power. Prisoners’ fair treatment is not a privilege; it is a basic human right. Please help achieve justice for Luis Rafael Escobar Ugas.
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Photo credit: decade_null via Flickr