The Venezuelan justice department in-exile sent a “red notice” to INTERPOL requesting the arrest of President Nicolás Maduro and a sentence of at least 18 years, three months in prison. The notice came with annexes including a physical description of Maduro and a statement of charges.
The Supreme Tribunal of Justice in Venezuela in exile was established in Panama in 2017 following a constitutional crisis in which Maduro rewrote the constitution and expelled 33 magistrates from the nation. Since then the tribunal, which does not recognize Maduro as Venezuelan but rather Colombian, has made several calls to international bodies for his arrest and prosecution.
The red notice leverages Article 35 of Venezuela’s Law against Organized Crime and Terrorist Financing, which states “who by itself or by interposed person is the owner or owner, possessor or owner of capital, assets, funds, assets or benefits, knowing that they come directly or indirectly from an illegal activity, will be punished or punished with imprisonment of ten to fifteen years and a fine equivalent to the value of the illicitly obtained patrimonial increase.” The justice department in-exile alleges that Maduro is in violation of this statute.
Maduro has been absolute ruler of Venezuela since April 2013. He has since run an authoritarian communist regime that has seen mass human rights abuses in a situation that Amnesty International has deemed the “worst human rights crisis in its history.” The justice department in-exile alleges that he has accepted bribes from cartels and profits off Venezuela’s drug trafficking.
“We solicit the arrest of Nicolás Maduro to secure human rights and conform to [Venezuelan law]” says the notice.