After an intense day of debates, the domestic policy committee of Venezuela’s National Assembly approved on Wednesday a special law against crimes of torture, which will guarantee greater respect for human rights.
In a session presided over by José Morales of the United Socialist Party, torture was classified under the law as a serious crime punishable by 3 to 25 years in prison.
“We are working, and we want to highlight the absence of deputies of the opposition parties, none of them appeared, nor were they present in the plenary session approving this new law,” Morales said.
He called on opposition lawmakers to join their respective committees, saying: “once they stop engaging in political tourism and decide to join the groups in the National Assembly, they will be welcomed to do the work the people elected them to do, that they were entrusted to do and that they are paid to do by this institution.”
In the second debate on this law, 31 articles were agreed upon with majority support and they were sent immediately to the National Assembly’s directors for a plenary session discussion.
“It is important to highlight that this legal instrument has a fundamental importance taking into account that it sanctions one of the greatest crimes that can be committed in society, which is torture against another human being,” Morales said.
He noted that, under the definition of torture, the law includes forms of cruel treatment by public servants and medical personnel, which garner “more severe punishments than those that were previously established in the Penal Code, which helps in the struggle against the crime of torture.”
Another socialist lawmaker, Juan Carlos Alemán, who was in charge of leading the discussion, said the law is pioneering among Venezuelan legislation.
“We were able to build a complete instrument that sanctions even those individuals that could be implicated as accomplices or intellectual authors of crimes of torture or human rights violations,” he said.
Meanwhile, Morales announced that also slated for discussion in 2013 is a law against medical malpractice, a law on constitutional protections, a law on firefighters, and another against car theft.
AVN/ Press – Venezuelan Embassy to the US/ May 16, 2013