A confession letter by former justice Aponte Aponte is revealed
Lawyer Carlos Ramírez López disclosed a document that reveals "the use of the judiciary for political harassment in Venezuela." In a letter, Eladio Aponte Aponte, a former Justice of the Supreme Tribunal of Justice (TSJ) who was removed from his post earlier in March for his presumed links with drug trafficker Walid Makled, stated that he sentenced the commissioners involved in the case of the events of April 11, 2002 to 30 years in prison following President Hugo Chávez orders
Ramírez López, who represents the commissioners and officials at human rights international organizations, read out the letter that Aponte wrote in Costa Rica. "(This letter) confirms the use of the judicial system for political harassment in Venezuela," he said.
"... I have committed the sin of having transmitted to the hearing judges the order to sentence them to 30 years in prison no matter how. I was following direct orders from President Hugo Chávez Frías," Aponte confessed in his letter.
"The order I received expressly from President Hugo Chávez was: to finish the issue right away, without further delay. Condemn them immediately," Aponte Aponte wrote. He also asserted that he was ready to ratify his confession "in independent courts, with unbiased judges and in a country with truthful democracy and freedom."
José Luis Tamayo, attorney of the police officers, simultaneously disclosed the letter in Caracas (Venezuela's capital city) and informed that this confession would be presented to the Public Ministry for its investigation. He also admitted that he did not hold much hope on the annulment of the sentence by the Supreme Tribunal of Justice (TSJ), therefore, no appeal of the case will be filed at the tribunal. Nevertheless, he demanded an alternative measure of serving the sentence for his clients (parole, open-regime).
As late as Tuesday, February 25, there was some visible response from Gabriela Ramírez's office. Representatives of the Office of the Ombudswoman would visit independent human rights watch groups to find what happened in connection with repression of protests. That day, they visited NGO Provea. The next day, they met with the attorneys of NGO Venezuelan Criminal Forum. They pursued specific data because -they argued- no claims of human rights violations of demonstrators had been filed with the Office of the Ombudswoman.