US Activists Arrested At Venezuela Embassy To Face Trial Without Key Documents

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Above Photo: C JRCook/Flickr

WASHINGTON (UrduPoint News / Sputnik – 14th December, 2019) A US judge ruled that four activists who were arrested during the State Department’s seizure of the Venezuelan Embassy in Washington in May must face trial without documents that activists say prove they were wrongly arrested, a Sputnik correspondent reported on Friday.

Earlier this month, the activists had asked the court to order the US government to hand over documents that they say prove they cooperated with law enforcement officers in the days leading up to their arrest, court documents show.

Chief US District Judge Beryl Howell during a status hearing at the District Court for the District of Columbia on Friday denied a request by the defendants to obtain the documents in time for their February 11 trial.

The four activists – Margaret Flowers, Keven Zeese, Adrienne Pine and David Paul – were arrested on May 16 when US Secret Service and State Department police raided the embassy to seize the facility and hand it over to Venezuelan opposition figure Juan Guaido. The activists had been residing at the embassy with the permission of the Venezuelan government of President Nicolas Maduro.

The US government has charged the activists with “interfering with the protective functions of the State Department.”

Activists’ lawyers said in a court filing that the documents prove that the activists did not interfere with the protective functions of the State Department, thus undermining the criminal charges that they currently face.

“The judge decided that we are not entitled to additional discovery.

We are going to the jury trial,” John Zwerling, a lawyer for one of the activists, told Sputnik after the status conference.

During Friday’s hearing, the defendants noted that the US authorities could have entered the building in a peaceful manner. But they instead broke into the embassy to arrest the four activists, who had been residing in the building for more than a month as guests of Venezuela‘s government in an effort to prevent Guaido’s representatives from seizing it.

The activists argue that they had a legal right to stay at the facility because the embassy belongs to Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro’s legitimate UN-recognized government.

The four were on May 17 granted conditional release pending trial, provided that they do not come within 100 feet of Venezuela‘s diplomatic facilities, report to the court on a weekly basis and do not travel abroad without permission.

Venezuela has been suffering from a severe political crisis since late January when US-backed opposition leader Guaido proclaimed himself interim president in a bid to oust Maduro from power. Maduro has accused Guaido of being a US puppet, working with Washington to orchestrate a coup so that the United States can control Venezuela‘s natural resources.

Earlier this year, Zeese, the Co-director of Popular Resistance activist group, told Sputnik that the United States violated international law including the Vienna convention by essentially invading the embassy, Venezuelan sovereign territory, with military troops.

  • voza0db

    The United States of Terrorism government – aka ALL the people that work there – don’t care about LAWS either national or international.

  • Pat moore

    Sending good wishes to all four defendants, in the hope that somehow justice can prevail.

  • dopfa

    Will we ever be able to hold the real criminals accountable? When pigs fly, I guess.
    Good luck to all of you brave people who speak truth to power, even when power doesn’t listen. Is there anyone we can put pressure on to release the documents?

  • mwildfire

    Will you be tried by a state court, a federal court, or an imperial court?

  • 1simpleeme

    What a travesty! The only crimes committed at the Venezuelan Embassy were by U.S. officials, and now we are watching our thoroughly corrupted “injustice system” blatantly planning another crime… a “kangaroo court” of U.S. citizens… completely disregarding their Constitutional rights, and instead acting on behalf of the corporate interests who are intent on raping Venezuela for its resources!!

  • Steven Berge

    Too bad we don’t really have separation of powers like they say we do. All three branches of government are owned by the same special interests. That is why it doesn’t matter if dems or reps are in control. The same inexorable path is travelled, that being more and more corporate/elite control and declining living standards, life expectancy, and freedom for the general citizenry. This article is a good example of a sold out court.

  • StopIsraeliGenocideInPalestine

    The GESTAPO Nazi justice of JewSA the Jewish contaminated USA.

  • StopIsraeliGenocideInPalestine

    Like that coin! The Dollar should bear the quote ‘in Jewish shit we trust’.

  • StopIsraeliGenocideInPalestine

    We know that a baby murdered by a Jew in Palestine is guilty of violence. Don’t you get it! This is Nazi Germany and finally with Pissler Trump it got the face it deserves.

  • StopIsraeliGenocideInPalestine

    Nope – if people show resistance against the Zio-Nazi US regime.

  • StopIsraeliGenocideInPalestine

    It is GESTAPO Nazi court.

  • rgaura

    Publish it all, blow by blow. People need to be aware of this trial. Shine a light on injustice, and it cannot stand. Solidarity.

  • Jon

    Break out the kangaroos costumes! Seriously, with this level of bias, defendants can demand a new venue or otherwise refuse to cooperate with a farce.