GENEVA, February 2, 2018 – UN Watch, a Geneva-based monitoring group, condemned Venezuela for arresting an 85-year-old activist in the middle of last night, taken from his home in Caracas at 3:00 a.m. by security forces.

Agents of the Sebin intelligence service have detained Enrique Aristeguieta Gramcko, an eminent lawyer, historian, and former politician who is active in two groups that have criticized the repressive Maduro regime. He is the president of the Great National Alliance (GANA), and a board member of Soy Venezuela.

“Venezuela’s arbitrary detention of Mr. Aristeguieta Gramcko is a breach of due process, and violates the government’s basic obligations as a member of the UN Human Rights Council,” said Hillel Neuer, executive director of UN Watch.

“We demand the immediate release of Mr. Aristeguieta Gramcko and all other political prisoners, and we call on UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres and High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein to speak out immediately to demand his freedom. We continue to demand an urgent session of the UNHRC to address ongoing gross and systematic abuses by Venezuela’s Maduro regime.”

Mr. Aristeguieta Gramcko played a crucial role in the birth of Venezuelan democracy. He was a member of the Junta Patriotica, a congressman, ambassador to the Caribbean, deputy minister of home affairs, governor of the Nueva Esparta state, and president of the Supreme Electoral Council.

He is a widely-respected figure in Venezuelan society, revered over many years for his tireless defense of political and civil liberties and democracy in Venezuela.

There is currently no information about his whereabouts. Venezuela has been repeatedly found by UN bodies to practice arbitrary detentions. Last year, opposition leaders Leopoldo Lopez and Antonio Ledezma were taken in the middle of the night away from house arrest in their homes and held incommunicado, and many others remain in detention.

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