UN chief claims 37 executed by Venezuelan police in January

Venezuelan security forces, backed by pro-government militias, have quashed peaceful protests with excessive use of force, killings and torture, United Nations human rights chief Michelle Bachelet said on Wednesday (March 20th), Reuters reports.

The country has been in a state of political crisis since January when Juan Guaido, head of the opposition-controlled congress, invoked the constitution to assume an interim presidency, arguing Nicolas Maduro’s 2018 re-election was not legitimate. 

Bachelet told the U.N. Human Rights Council that she had information, without elaborating, that the National Police’s Special Actions Force (FAES) had executed 37 people in January in Caracas in illegal house raids in poor areas supporting the opposition. 

“... my office documented numerous human rights violations and abuses by security forces and pro-government armed groups, including excessive use of force, killings, arbitrary detentions, torture and ill-treatment in detention, and threats and intimidation,” she said. 

Maduro, a socialist who says he is the victim of an attempted U.S.-led coup, retains the support of the armed forces and control of state functions. 

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