CARACAS (HPD) — The judicial process against journalist Roland Carreño, a member of the Venezuelan opposition party Voluntad Popular, is intended to be carried out again from the beginning because the judge in charge requested a medical license, his defense lawyers denounced on Wednesday.
Carreño was arrested after the leader and founder of Voluntad Popular, Leopoldo López, fled to Madrid. The process against Carreño — operational coordinator of that political organization, who was charged with the alleged crimes of conspiracy, illicit trafficking in weapons of war and financing of terrorism since his arrest two years ago — had already suffered a series of postponements, he indicated. his attorney Joel Garcia in a statement.
Attorney General Tarek William Saab accused Carreño of being in charge of distributing money to supposedly finance groups that try to destabilize the Venezuelan government. Among those groups he mentioned four of the main opposition parties: Popular Will, Democratic Action, Justice First and Un Nuevo Tiempo.
The oral and public trial against Carreño, which began in May, was interrupted because the judge fell ill. The Venezuelan Code of Criminal Procedure establishes that, if 11 business days have elapsed since the last hearing and the trial is not resumed, the “immediacy principle” or the presence of the judge in all the hearings and evidentiary proceedings of the parties is broken. Otherwise, “the trial will have to be carried out again,” Garcia said.
The also human rights activist explained that, if the court had remained without dispatching until the return of the judge, the process could continue where it left off, but “with the appointment of a substitute judge, who began to dispatch, The business days began to be counted and consequently the trial was interrupted,” he asserted. García recalled that in Venezuela it is common for the courts to remain for months and even years without providing service.
He also stressed that the process was already in its final stage and a witness remained to testify, as well as an expert, to give way to the ruling.
Police officers detained Carreño near his residence in Caracas. The Prosecutor’s Office maintains that an AM15 rifle and $12,000 in cash were found in his vehicle.
Spokesmen for the Prosecutor’s Office were not immediately available for comment.
López, who has repeatedly called Carreño’s arrest a government retaliation, was sentenced in 2015 to nearly 14 years in prison for promoting violent protests in Caracas. He spent more than three years in the Ramo Verde military prison, on the outskirts of the capital, and in 2017 he was transferred to his house under house arrest. On April 30, 2019, he took refuge in the residence of the Spanish ambassador in Caracas after leading a failed military rebellion.
Carreño’s arrest took place on October 26, 2020, two days after López’s surprise departure from the Spanish diplomatic headquarters, where he was a refugee for a year and a half. López traveled to Madrid, where he met with relatives.