Over 5,000 detained in Venezuelan protests

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Caracas, Aug 1 (IANS) A total of 5,051 persons were detained in Venezuela since the wave of anti-government protests began on April 1, according to a non-governmental organisation.

Of the detainees, about 10 per cent are women, and the majority are young people and students, Efe news quoted the Foro Penal NGO as saying on Monday.

More than 1,300 of those arrested during demonstrations still remain behind bars, Foro Penal director Alfredo Romero said.

Security forces arrested 96 people on July 30 during nationwide protests against the National Constituent Assembly promoted by the government in order to reorganise the legal system in Venezuela.

According to the Venezuelan Attorney General, at least 10 people were killed during the demonstrations against the election on July 30, bringing the total death toll from the anti-government protests that began in April 1 to 121.

Foro Penal, which provides legal assistance to detainees, also revealed that 527 of those arrested during nearly four months of protests have been tried in military courts despite being civilians.

According to a list compiled by the NGO, there are currently 498 “political prisoners” in Venezuela.

–IANS

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