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Embassy of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela- Statement

Judiciary in Venezuela is Independent

Case Against Oswaldo Alvarez Paz is Legal, not Political

In response to the distortions and inaccuracies in the U.S. media coverage around the recent detention of Venezuelan citizen Oswaldo Alvarez Paz, the Embassy of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela would like to clarify the following points:

1) This case is a legal one, not a political one.  Mr. Alvarez Paz’s detention comes as a consequence of a court’s granting of an arrest warrant for an alleged criminal act. The warrant was granted in accordance with provisions of the Organic Penal Process Code (Código Orgánico Procesal Penal, or COPP, in Spanish), specifically those outlined in Articles 296-A, 132 and 285.

2) Mr. Alvarez Paz was arrested and charged with the crimes of conspiracy, public incitement to delinquency and dissemination of false information.

3) Mr. Alvarez Paz enjoys all the constitutional rights, protections and guarantees granted to all Venezuelan citizens, including the right to a defense. In an interview after his detention, Mr. Alvarez Paz confirmed to the press that his legal rights have been maintained.

4) Today preliminary proceedings court no. 25 ruled that Mr. Alvarez Paz should remain detained during the investigation of this case due to fears of his possible flight from the country. 

5) That this case is being openly discussed inside Venezuela serves as evidence of the freedom of expression that exists in the country.

While neither the Embassy nor the Executive Branch can explicitly comment on cases of this sort, it is important to clarify the legal nature of this case, stress that all of Mr. Alvarez Paz’s rights and guarantees are being fully respected, and leave clear the context and facts surrounding the case.

March 24, 2010

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