July 22, 2019
Latin America

‘Tortured’ Venezuela captain buried without wife’s consent

The body of a Venezuelan navy captain who died in custody on 27 June has been buried by government officials without his family's consent, his wife says.

Members of the Venezuelan security forces interred Capt Rafael Acosta's body in a Caracas cemetery.

Capt Acosta's lawyer said he died as a result of torture, and a leaked post-mortem report suggested he had been beaten and electrocuted.

He was being held over an alleged plot to kill President Nicolás Maduro.

What did Capt Acosta's wife say?

In a video message published on Twitter, Ms Pérez denounced "the illegal process" by which the morgue in the capital, Caracas, had handed over her husband's body to the security forces for burial without her permission.

Ms Pérez, who has left Venezuela, said she had not given either the morgue or any funeral parlour instructions to bury her husband's body.

Spanish daily ABC reported that Capt Acosta's sister was asked to identify his body and that it was then taken under police escort to a cemetery in the east of Caracas.

There, he was buried in a plot assigned by government officials with a plain headstone which was also provided by officials.

Only close family members were present at the burial, which was watched over by members of the security forces.

Ms Pérez had been asking for her husband's body to be handed over to the family so that an independent forensic expert could carry out a post-mortem examination.

That request was never granted. The family also said that they had wanted to bury Capt Acosta in his hometown of Maracay, 130km (81 miles) west of where his body lies now.

What did the post-mortem reveal?

While the family was not allowed to take Capt Acosta's body away for examination, a post-mortem examination was carried out by officials.

Extracts of the forensic report were leaked to the press. They suggest the navy captain died of severe swelling of the brain caused by acute lack of oxygen.

The leaked report also suggested that Capt Acosta's body showed signs of having been subjected to extreme force and had suffered severe beatings and electrocution.

The full report has not been released.

What was he suspected of?

Capt Acosta had been accused of committing "grave acts of terrorism, treason and attempted assassination of the president".

Communications Minister JorRead More – Source

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BBC

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