March 3, 2004

Judicial purges: Venezuela's latest human rights outrage

Translated and reprinted from

Judges who freed opposition protesters defrocked
Two Caracas area judges have been defrocked, after freeing a number of protesters from various political organizations belonging to the opposition.

The decisions were taken by the head of the Supreme Tribunal, Ivan Rincon, who sent them a statement notifying them that their appointments had been left without effect, "due to observations made to them."

The letter was sent as head of the Judicial Commission of the Supreme Tribunal, charged with designating and removing provisory judges. (Note: 85% of judges are officially "provisory.")

The first judge to lose her job was the 41st Criminal Control judge, Maria Trastoy, who had freed six Primero Justicia activists stopped during the protests that took place on Friday, against closing the door on the recall referendum.

The second judge was 3rd Control Judge, Petra Jimenez, who was a substitute judge and liberated Lorenzo Carrieri, a protester.

Better luck went to 32nd Criminal Control Judge, Maria Perez de Motaban, who is is said kept her job because she kept three other activists in jail.