Colombia’s Ombudsman Volmar Perez announced Wednesday that a total of 20 Colombian citizens were detained in March and currently being held by Venezuela on charges of espionage or links to illegal armed groups, reported Colombian media.
Perez said that alongside the eight Colombians arrested for taking photographs of Venezuelan military telecommunications towers and highways at the end of March, the country’s authorities also arrested twelve Colombian citizens on March 19, on suspicion that they are linked to an illegal armed group.
According to reports, the twelve detained Colombians, who were arrested at a country house in the Venezuelan state of Miranda, were friends and family of the property’s owner.
The ombudsman explained that, “Venezuelan authorities found five old guns at the house, and accused them of integrating illegally armed groups.”
Perez said that the detainees are being held in a prison in Caracas.
The Colombian ombudsman has appealed for intervention by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) to see that the twenty prisoners are released.
“The support of Colombian authorities for nationals arrested abroad is imperative,” said Perez, who stressed that there must be an “urgent intervention of the IACHR to guarantee the right to security for Colombians living in Venezuela.”
Perez insisted on bringing the situation before the IACHR, in order “to take measures to protect Colombians who live in or pass through Venezuelan territory.”