Venezuela’s attorney general announced the arrest of 12 police officers who are tied to the ‘execution’ of a 21-year-old university student in the southern state of Zulia.
Jhonny Boscán was waiting for his mother outside a bakery in the municipality of San Francisco on Monday when he was approached by the law enforcement agents, according to Venezuelan online portal QuePasa.com.
A woman who identified herself as Boscán’s aunt said three armed men forced him into an SUV and that one of the suspects drove off in his car.
Boscán’s mother, Yenci Terán, stepped out of the store and went home after noticing her son was no longer there. She went home thinking she would locate him there, but then returned to the bakery and learned from a witnesses that her son had been taken by force.
‘While the victim was parked in a shopping center, the policemen took him away in his vehicle, they killed him with their respective [service] weapons and then simulated a confrontation,’ Attorney General Tarek William Saab tweeted on Thursday.
The cops were identified as Jesús Bermudez; Mario Aparicio; Francisco Núñez; Pedro Salazar; Carlos Ríos; Marcos Gómez; Yimmi Reverol; Antonio Ferrer; Franschelys Mendoza; Jelvin Marín; Jhimmu Gelis and Jefgery Montilla.
Boscán attended the Experimental Security University in Caracas, where future members of the police and security forces are trained, and had dreams of one day joining Venezuela’s National Police.
The cops initially said Boscán had been identified as a member of a local gang and that he sped off in his vehicle, leading the police officers on a chase and crashed into a light pole before he was intercepted. The police alleged that Boscán then engaged the agents in a shootout before he was shot.
The officers will be each be charged with three counts that include ‘simulation of a punishable act, improper use of [service] weapon, and treacherous homicide.’
‘The Public Ministry, in full adherence to the provisions of our Constitution on human rights, will continue to act in accordance with the law to sanction these unacceptable criminal practices that later turn into mafias that attack innocent people,’ Saab added.
In 2017, Saab and 12 other officials were sanctioned by the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control for ‘undermining democracy or human rights’ in the South American nation.
Saab’s announcement into the investigation of Boscán’s murder came a day after the United Nations said it was looking into 200 killings that had been allegedly committed by Venezuelan police officers in 2021 amid concerns about possible summary executions.
Marta Valinas, head of a U.N. fact-finding mission, said the toll included people killed in a police operation in La Vega, Caracas in early January.
‘Our preliminary investigations indicate that at least some of those killed were victims of extrajudicial executions,’ she told the U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva on Wednesday.
Venezuela’s delegation swiftly dismissed the allegations without addressing them specifically.
‘Once again the fact-finding mission presents politicized information with no balance and fairness,’ it told the Geneva forum.