In response to the Colombian government’s expulsion of two Venezuelan youth activists, Freedom House issued the following statement:
“The Colombian government’s decision to hand over two activists to the Venezuelan authorities, despite the clear threat posed to their safety, marks a blatant violation of Colombia’s commitments under Article 22.8 of the American Convention on Human Rights,” said David J. Kramer, president of Freedom House. “Colombia had an obligation to protect them from the politically motivated persecution that likely awaits them in Venezuela, where the Maduro administration has repeatedly shown its disregard for due process for its critics.”
According to Colombian officials, Lorent Saleh and Gabriel Valles were expelled for participating in activities that undermine public order. The Venezuelan government announced that it would charge them with violating a settlement reached in 2010 after being detained for participating in protests in Carabobo state. If convicted, they could face up to five years in prison.