Rampant impunity

April 5, 2003

Imagine this: A Lieutenant in the Venezuelan Army punishes some soldiers for disobedience by placing them in a cell. Lt. Sicat sprays thinner into the cell and lights a fire. One soldier dies and two are injured. A military Court tries the Lt., finds him guilty and condenms him to sixteen years in jail. The Supreme Court rules that the crime was a civil one and the trial should be moved to the civil justice system. The Lt. is tried and lo and behold he is found to be innocent by a vote of two to one in a novel experiment in the Venezuelan justice system in which normal citizens hold trials alongside judges. Guess what? The judge found Lt. Sicat to be guilty, while the two citizens found him innocent. So, this man walks free, he had never denied the facts, the military Court found him guilty, the only point was the senrence had to be according to civils laws, instead he is let go. This is the justice system that Chavez says does not work? Yes, but for the wrong reasons!!Impunity is rampant in Venezuela, watch out my friends!!

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