UN and President Chávez aware in advance of Afiuni's situation
Defense attorney José Amalio Graterol advises the Venezuelan government to perform its obligations
Such were the words uttered by José Amalio Graterol, the attorney of Judge María Lourdes Afiuni. The lawyer told private news TV channel Globovisión that both the Venezuelan government and the United Nations (UN) were keenly aware that Afiuni had been sexually abused early in her arrest.
Afiuni was behind bars at the Women's Guidance National Institute (INOF). "There is evidence of the abuse, certified when she left the INOF in February 2011, including signs of torture," the lawyer spelled out, as posted on Globovisión website.
The whole team of defense attorneys, in agreement with the psychiatrists that saw Afiuni, resolved at that time not to release such abuses. To Graterol's mind, this would have meant "a second assault."
Graterol explained that right now, since Venezuela became a member of the UN Council on Human Rights, the government should abide by the UN resolutions.
Afiuni is next to turn three years imprisoned. Her ordeal came to light upon the release of "Afiuni, la presa del Comandante" (Afiuni The Commander's Prisoner). The book was penned by journalist Francisco Olivares, the head of Dossier, the section of investigative journalism at daily newspaper El Universal.
At first she agreed that I use her real name, that she had no problems with that at all. After all, living with HIV had driven her to help others – as a workshop facilitator giving talks and conducting seminars, or as a volunteer for local AIDS Service Organizations like Acción Solidaria (Solidary Action) and Mujeres Unidas por la Salud (Women United for Health, or Musa), a support group network for HIV-positive women. But when we were well into the interview, the realization that she might lose her private health insurance coverage made her change her mind.