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Four people accused of masterminding the murder of public prosecutor Danilo Anderson

* Crime Control 34th judge Alejandra Rivas ordered arrest of Salvador Romaní and retired general Eugenio Añez Núñez, who together with banker Nelson Mezerhane and journalist Patricia Poleo have been accused by the Attorney General's Office of masterminding the murder of public prosecutor Danilo Anderson, who was killed on November 18, 2004 in Caracas when a bomb imbedded in his car exploded.

* Prosecutor Anderson was investigating approximately 300 people allegedly involved in a failed coup led by businessman Pedro Carmona, presently in Colombia, that overthrew in April 2002 President Hugo Chávez for 48 hours.

* Following Rivas' decision, defense lawyers for Añez and Romaní, Omar Uzcátegui and Jairo Revilla, respectively, rejected the fact that the Attorney General's Office has founded allegations on the testimony provided by a criminal, a Colombian rebel who took part in designing the attack against Anderson.

* Uzcátegui explained that such a witness is a member of United Self-Defenses of Colombia (AUC). Revilla went further, and unveiled the witness' name, Giovani José Vázquez de Armas. Revilla added that there is no further evidence against Añez and Romaní.

* Public prosecutors Yorako Bauza, Gilberto Landaeta, Turcy Simancas, Sonia Buznegos and Hernando Contreras claimed that Añez and Romaní committed first degree murder through fire with treachery, and conspiracy.

* Defense Minister general Orlando Maniglia, National Guard commander general Marcos Rojas Figueroa and National Guard general Jaime Escalante -accused by the Attorney General's Office of being one of the masterminds of the murder of prosecutor Anderson- met Monday at the headquarters of the Defense Ministry.

* Over the weekend, Maniglia temporarily removed Escalante from his position as head of the Regional Command I, in border southwestern Táchira state, as provided for under the law.

* The Attorney General's Office announced that a preliminary proceeding on merits against Escalante would be requested. Escalante is accused of allowing entrance in Venezuela of the explosives that were used in the bomb that killed Anderson.

* Rosalio Cardinal Castillo Lara Monday expressed consternation, affliction and pain "to witness such big pantomimes of injustice," in reference to bench orders issued for four people accused of masterminding the murder of prosecutor Anderson, who was killed a little under a year ago.

* "I am so sorry for everything this represents: this is going to deepen the hatred feeling that has been disseminated here," Castillo Lara told a local radio station.

* The Catholic Church prelate added that this is "a time and a situation when people relying on justice should protest. I do not mean staging marches, but protesting on the radio, newspapers, television. I mean raising our voices, because this is a big shame for Venezuela."

* The 34th control court overruled Monday the possibility of editor Rafael Poleo to appoint an attorney to defend his daughter, journalist Patricia Poleo.

* According to attorney Alonso Medina Roa, the court clerk pointed out, "appointment of a defense attorney by a relative is not possible or can be granted." However, the Organic Code of Criminal Procedure (COPP) states otherwise. In the official words, "the only way to appoint a defense attorney is for Ms. Patricia Poleo to occur to the court and name a defense attorney."

* The main witness to the murder of prosecutor Anderson is a Colombian psychiatrist who worked for the paramilitary Colombian United Self-Defense (AUC,) Venezuelan Attorney General Isaías Rodríguez disclosed Tuesday.

* The Attorney General did not identify the witness, but added that he is hidden and under the police protection, along with his wife and son. "They want to kill him" to prevent any testimony.

* The Venezuelan government called "absurd" criticism by the Inter-American Press Association (IAPA) of the Attorney General Office and courts with regard to the murder of Anderson.
 
* "IAPA stance is absurd. The fact that a journalist and a media shareholder are allegedly involved in a court investigation has nothing to do with freedom of expression," Minister of Communication Yuri Pimentel reasoned.

* IAPA, a media association based in Miami, expressed concern and was surprised to learn that a bench warrant was issued last week against journalist Patricia Poleo and banker Nelson Mezerhane.

* Lourdes Anderson, the sister of slain public prosecutor Danilo Anderson, reasserted "full faith in the Attorney General Office," and is certain that no indictment has been made on a whim, as there are grounds for conviction.

* Despite other relatives do not agree with the findings of the investigations which resulted in unexpected charges, Lourdes Anderson thinks that the Attorney General Office always pointed to that sector as alleged perpetrators of the assassination.

* Giovani José Vásquez De Armas, the key witness of the Attorney General's Office to found allegations that journalist Poleo, banker Mezerhane, retired general Áñez Núñez and Romaní masterminded Anderson's murder, conceded he was a member of the United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia (AUC).

* Further, he declared that he even occupied the position as head of logistics for such paramilitary group. Vásquez De Armas claimed he attended two alleged meetings where the crime was planned. He specified that on March 15, 2004 in Panama he picked up 12 kilos of C-4 explosive material that were used to manufacture the bomb that blew up Anderson's SUV and took it to Venezuela.
 
* Attorney General Isaías Rodríguez has turned the investigation into murder of Anderson into a political issue, and is using the case to chase government opponents, ex Metropolitan council member Carlos Herrera said

* "It seems to me that Isaías has turned this case into a political issue and is using it to chase opposition," Herrera told Unión Radio.

* Herrera claimed to be worried because authorities have not investigated into an alleged extortion network including deceased Anderson and some public prosecutors who took part in the enquiry. On the contrary, the testimony of an alleged paramilitary is given importance to make serious accusations against the four alleged perpetrators.

* Attorney General Rodríguez Wednesday stated that another person has been arrested in connection with an investigation into Anderson's murder.

* Rodríguez added that this person has provided significant information supporting his office's case and is to appear in court to render testimony.

* The official explained that this person was not arrested under suspicion of masterminding Anderson's murder, but because he handles information relevant for the case. Rodríguez added the man is Venezuelan and is not a widely known person.

* The twelfth piece of evidence on which the Attorney General's Office has based allegations that Poleo, Mezerhane, retired general Áñez Núñez and Romaní Orue masterminded Anderson's murder is phone calls between Romaní Orue and Juan Carlos Sánchez, an alleged perpetrator who was killed in a clash with police corps.

* On November 6, during a preliminary hearing for Áñez Núñez and Romaní Orue at the 34th Crime Control Court chaired by judge Alejandra Rivas, public prosecutor Gilberto Landaeta made reference to such piece of evidence: "Officers with the Directorate for Intelligence, Security and Prevention (Disip) surveyed phone call records and found that on November 19, 2004, phone number 0414-2619401, owned by Mr. Salvador Romaní Orue, received a call from phone number 0414-3216830, owned by Mr. Juan Carlos Sánchez (...) which ratifies that there is a link between these two persons and ratifies statements made by Mr. Giovani Vásquez -a Colombian who allegedly participated in meetings to plan Anderson's murder and who is a key witness for the prosecution- in his deposition, made in advance and filed as a piece of evidence."

* Trial of Rolando, Otoniel and Juan Guevara, alleged perpetrators of Anderson's murder, will not be televised.

* Despite the Attorney General Isaías Rodríguez' offer to allow media coverage for the trial, Thursday the media were informed that no one of the parties involved made the relevant request.

* The Colombian witness in the case related to the murder of Anderson faces multiple charges for impersonation and swindle, and was detained in 1999 for pretending to be a psychiatrist, the Colombian Intelligence Service (DAS) reported.

* In a press release, DAS made reference to the information published Wednesday in El Universal, pointing to Colombian-Venezuelan Giovanny Vásquez de Armas as witness to Anderson's homicide in November 2004, AFP quoted.

* "That individual pretended to be a psychiatrist fluent in German. All of this proved to be false," the press release stated.

* DAS also claimed that the key witness "faces several charges filed by the Colombian Attorney General's Office for the crimes of impersonation, swindle and use of forged identification documents. In 1999, he was arrested as he pretended to be a psychiatrist."

* In the second day of a suit against Juan Bautista, Otoniel and Rolando Guevara for being the alleged perpetrators of the murder of public prosecutor Danilo Anderson, Juan Bautista claimed that officials of the Directorate for Security, Intelligence and Prevention (Disip) tortured him during the examination, and he pleaded no guilty for the crimes charged.

* In an official communiqué published on its web site, DAS dismissed Giovanni José Vásquez De Armas' testimony during an interview with the Venezuelan Attorney General's Office late in August. DAS also stressed that they have not received "any request for information from Venezuelan authorities" in connection with Anderson's case, and expressed willingness to provide all the information they have on this Colombian-Venezuelan citizen.


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