8.The petitioners state that one of the main ways in which the right to life is violated in Venezuela is by the practice, blamed on local police, of unlawful and arbitrary detentions, followed by extrajudicial executions, and the use of excessive and indiscriminate force. They state that these violent “executions” are usually inflicted on young men, many of whom are under 18 years of age and belong to the lower social classes, by police officers with an established modus operandi, and with widespread impunity. 9.They allege that within the framework of this phenomenon, which has been almost systematic in Venezuela since 1988, Aragua is one of the states in which the greatest number of these “executions” is carried out by the agencies of law and order, in particular the public law and order police (Cuerpo Policial de Seguridad y Orden Público). 10.They state that the characteristic opus operandi is as follows: “a) the event is described by the police as a confrontation which in most cases involves altering the scene of the events, the victim is taken by the police officers who attacked him, and left - usually lifeless – at a state hospital, with no explanation given; b) uniforms and/or weapons and official equipment (including vehicles) are used; c) the victim is discredited or criminalized with claims made that he resisted arrest or had a criminal and/or police record; d) witnesses and family members are intimidated, threatened, and even murdered.” They allege furthermore that most of these events remain unpunished. 11.As background to the events, the petitioners indicate that the Landaeta Mejías family had been the object of harassment, intimidation, and threats from members of the public law and order police of the State of Aragua. They describe in particular a raid on their house, which took place without a search warrant, and the death threat received by the alleged victim and his brother Igmar Alexander Landaeta Mejías. 12.They state that the mother of the alleged victim went to the technical office of the judicial police (Cuerpo Técnico de Policía Judicial) to make an official complaint concerning these events and was told that the complaint could not be registered because “no action can be taken against police officers.” They state that on November 17, 1996, officers of the Aragua State law and order police murdered Igmar Alexander, brother of Eduardo José Landaeta Mejías. 13.Regarding the events giving rise to the present petition, they state that on December 29, 1996, at approximately 9.0 a.m., Eduardo José Landaeta, who at that time was 17 years old, was arrested in the street in the state capital of Maracay by a group of state police officers. They state that the alleged victim was taken to a police station in the same city where the police officers failed to inform his parents that the juvenile had been arrested. 14.According to the petitioners, at approximately 4.30 p.m., Eduardo José Landaeta managed to telephone his father, Ignacio Landaeta Muñoz and inform him of his arrest, and asked his father to bring the 30,000 Bolivars being demanded for his release. They state that when Mr. Ignacio Landaeta appeared at the police station he was told that his son could not be released because the State Police Central Command had been informed of his arrest. 15.The petitioners state that Mr. Ignacio Landaeta Muñoz asked a female officer in the police station, as well as the sergeant on duty, to take care of his son given that he was under 18 and had recently been in receipt of threats. They state that at approximately 7.30 that night, the alleged victim’s mother went to the police station and while she was waiting to be told the reasons for the arrest of her son, two police officers in a white, Toyota Corolla vehicle, with no number plates, arrived, asking for “Eduardo Landaeta”. According to the petitioners, these officers were surprised to see the mother of Eduardo José Landaeta and they left. She identified them as Gerardo Alcides Castillo Freites and Francisco Alberto Castillo Matute. 16.During the morning of December 30, 1996, they say that Eduardo José Landaeta was transferred to the Central Command of the Aragua State Police, while his parents were following proceedings and spending the night in front of the Command awaiting the transfer 2

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