The Law Society of Upper Canada is deeply concerned about judges in Venezuela who, in carrying out their judicial duties, can be subjected to detention and imprisonment when their decisions are contrary to the views of public authorities.
Reports indicate that on December 9, 2009, Judge Maria Lourdes Afiuni was arrested by intelligence officers after ordering the conditional release pending trial of Eligio Cedeño. Mr. Cedeño's detention was declared arbitrary in September 2009 by the United Nations working group on Arbitrary Detention, a working group that cited violations of his right to a fair trial. Judge Afiuni's actions were consistent with the conclusion of the United Nations Working Group and she released Mr. Cedeño because he had been in pre-trial detention for nearly three years; a violation of a two-year limit prescribed by Venezuelan law. As a result, Judge Afiuni was charged with corruption, being an accessory to escape, criminal conspiracy and abuse of power.
The Law Society intervened by writing this letter of intervention.
Letter of Intervention