Venezuela supports long imprisonment for U.S. oil executives

Miami (AP) — A Venezuelan court upheld long-term imprisonment for six American oil executives detained on charges of corruption in South American countries for more than four years.

The Venezuelan Supreme Court issued a ruling late Friday, disappointing families hoping for a surprise decision last fall and hearing an appeal. Recent prison visits President Nicolas Maduro’s government was trying to release the man as part of a gesture involving the Biden administration in negotiations over US sanctions, according to state ministry officials.

The court did not provide information on the decision and the order itself was not immediately available. Venezuela’s judicial system stacks up with pro-Maduro officials who regularly issue legislation in accordance with the President’s view.

A man known as Citgo 6 was invited to Caracas before and after the 2017 Thanksgiving Day for the Houston oil company they worked for and attended a meeting at the headquarters of Citgo’s parent, state-owned oil giant PDVSA. Did. Upon arriving there, heavily armed masked guards attacked the conference room, where they gathered and took them away. Later they were charged with corruption in connection with a never-implemented plan to refinance billions of bonds.

Executives in November, before three judges appealed, the same week that the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Arbitrary Detention took up the case of Tomeu Vadel, one of the six detainees. Appeared. Five of the men are dual Venezuelan-Americans who have lived in the United States for many years, and one former Citgo President Jose Pereira is a permanent resident of the United States.

The man is detained in a helicoid prison in Caracas along with some of Maduro’s top enemies. The United States repeatedly demanded their release and severely criticized their detention and convictions for lacking all the similarities in due process.

Seen by many as a political pawn of hostilities between the United States and Venezuela, men were twice before being granted house arrest.

However, in February 2020, they were returned to prison after President Donald Trump welcomed opposition leader Juan Guaidó to the White House.

They were again granted house arrest in April last year, but the deal ended on October 16 and Maduro’s close allies were expelled to the United States to face money laundering charges by the African country Cape Verde. Was done.