24 December 2009

Eligio Cedeño's case: exhibit A of lack of judiciary independence in Venezuela

The MSM strikes as ever so utterly incompetent nowadays. In its reporting of Eligio Cedeño's case, the Venezuelan banker who gossip has it was jailed for having dumped Hugo Chavez's daughter, journalists have failed miserably at quoting perhaps the most important piece of information about this issue: the law. The known facts are:

  1. Cedeño was accused of misallocation/misuse of some $27 million.
  2. Convinced of his innocence, Cedeño handed himself in, to DISIP authorities.
  3. After 34 months of illegal imprisonment, and without trial in sight, judge María Lourdes Afiuni freed Cedeño.
  4. Cedeño fled for the USA, and contacted US authorities immediately to regularise his status.
  5. Judge Afiuni was arrested, and has been locked in a regular prison with criminals that may have been sentenced by her. Judge Afiuni denounced that inmates have threatened to burn her alive.
  6. Despite the fact that no court in the land has found Cedeño guilty of wrongdoing, Chavez accused him and judge Afiuni of been criminals, going as far as demanding, to the head of Venezuela's Supreme Court and to Congress, that judge Afiuni is sentenced to 30 years imprisonment.
  7. Hugo Chavez, frothing at the mouth, announces that Cedeño has been "arrested in the US", and orders his minions to have him extradited from the USA.
  8. Cedeño is paroled by US authorities.
  9. Cedeño promises to reveal "crucial and detailed information" about the Chavez regime.
This case will go down in history as one of the quintessential examples of the lack of an independent judiciary in Hugo Chavez's Venezuela. However, beyond the known facts, the MSM and parties involved have decided to go down the route of who said what when, instead of citing the law (Venezuela's Penal Code) that states, explicitly in article 253, that under no circumstances can a person, charged of a punishable offence and waiting for trial, be deprived of its freedom for more than 2 years.

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