Venezuelan deposed chief prosecutor denounces 'extrajudicial execution' of Oscar Perez
17 January, 2018, 02:10 | Author: Irene Delgado
Venezuela's Interior Minister confirmed that seven members of what officials are calling a "terrorist cell" were killed during an operation in the outskirts of Caracas Monday.
Suspects are linked to a group led by former police pilot Oscar Perez, who is wanted by the government for having allegedly stolen a helicopter and attacked government buildings in June a year ago.
Perez claimed responsibility for the attack, saying it was to fight what he said was a tyrannical government.
No one was killed or injured when Perez flew the stolen helicopter over Caracas, but it was a brazen demonstration of discontent against Maduro's embattled government.
In several videos posted after the helicopter attack in June, Perez had declared that he belonged to an uprising of members of the security forces who were fed up with President Nicolas Maduro's administration. He garnered tens of thousands of followers online and has piqued the curiosity of Venezuelans who either hail him as hero, condemn him as a criminal or question if he might be a ruse to support Maduro's assertion that the nation is under attack by opposition conspirators.
Earlier Monday, Perez, 36, posted video clips showing blood dripping across his face as gunshots rang in the background. Perez and the assailants berated several detained guardsmen for doing nothing to help their fellow citizens suffering from hunger.
"Venezuela, don't lose hope". "It is time for us to be free, and only you have the power now".
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Reverol said that an intense search finally led security forces to the house.
"We are not shooting and they keep attacking us", Perez says.
"We wanted to report the dismantling of a powerful cell that during the last months have committed terrorist acts", said Nestor Reverol, the Minister of People's Power for Interior Relations, Justice and Peace at a press conference Tuesday.
Mystery surrounded Perez's fate for almost 24 hours as officials remained silent until the announcement on state television that he was among the dead.
Though the fate of Perez remains unknown, CNN reported that an anonymous top government official had informed the news agency that he had been killed in the confrontation. "We are trying to negotiate because there are innocent people here, there are civilians ... they literally want to kill us".
Solorzano called for the government turn the bodies over to relatives rather than cremate them, allowing for a transparent investigation.
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