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Published On: Wed, Apr 5th, 2017

Venezuelan Authorities Arrest COPEI President for Alleged Treason and Conspiracy

Jeanette Charles (VA) : The president of the Independent Political Electoral Organization Committee (COPEI), also known as the Social Christian Party, was arrested by Venezuelan authorities on Sunday. Roberto Enríquez was detained by military counter-intelliegence officials over accusations of treason and instigation to rebellion.

Roberto Enriquez (Archive)

Roberto Enriquez (Archive)

The Christian Democratic leader is currently being held at the General Directorate of Military Counter-intelligence headquarters (DGCIM) in Boletía, Caracas, according to Venezuelan media sources.

The arrest was reportedly ordered by the country’s 1st Military Court following a raid on two apartments in recent days that allegedly uncovered high-power firearms belonging to the National Bolivarian Armed Forces, which authorities claim were being stockpiled in preparation for an insurrection.

Alfredo Romero, director of the non-governmental organization Venezuelan Criminal Forum, confirmed that Enríquez will testify before a military tribunal for these alleged crimes.

Romero criticized Enríquez’s arrest suggesting that his case “appears to be related to a wave of arrests that have been taking place investigating rebellion and treason.”

Likewise, COPEI’s national leadership has since denounced the arrest referring to it as “repressive” measure aimed at the country’s opposition parties.

COPEI, a conservative right-leaning party known for its 30-year pacted two party rule alongside the Democratic Action party (AD), demanded “maximum respect” for human rights during its official press conference Monday.

AD General Secretary and ex-National Assembly President Ramos Allup also condemned the arrest, calling it an “arbitrary and unconstitutional detention”.

Over the weekend, another COPEI leader, Eduardo Vetencourt was also arrested for “treason, instigation, conspiracy, rebellion and association to commit a crime.” Ventencourt is currently being held in Ramo Verde.

Similarly, two other military officials, Colonel Ricardo Somascal and Captain Angelo Heredia were detained over the weekend by Venezuelan authorities for treason and conspiracy.

The Venezuelan government has yet to issue an official statement regarding the arrests.

Jeanette Charles, Venezuelanalysis

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