Daniel Ceballos

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VENEZUELA / Detained March 19, 2014

UPDATE: Daniel Ceballos was released from the Helicoide—an infamous Venezuelan detention center—on June 1, 2018, after being detained for more than four years. However, he is required to appear in court every 30 days and is prohibited from leaving the country.

Daniel Ceballos is a prominent Venezuelan human rights activist, agricultural engineer, and lawmaker. He formerly served as the mayor of San Cristobal in Tachira, Venezuela, and as the leader of the political party Voluntad Popular (“Popular Will”).

On March 19, 2014, officials from the Bolivarian National Intelligence Service (SEBIN) arrested Daniel for allegedly failing to stop protests in San Cristobal. He was charged with civil rebellion and conspiracy and sentenced to one year in prison. Daniel was detained in maximum security prison Ramo Verde, where prison guards reportedly hurled bags of feces and urine against his window and shut his water and electricity off.

On May 22, 2015, Daniel went on hunger strike along with three other detainees to protest his continued detention after serving his year-long sentence. Daniel was promptly transferred to the July 26 Prison, a general population prison outside of Caracas without the knowledge of his family or lawyer. There, he was placed in solitary confinement and made to sleep on a bed made of cement. After ending his hunger strike on June 11, 2015, he was transferred to the Helicoide, a SEBIN detention center in Caracas.

Daniel was released under house arrest on August 11, 2015, for health reasons. However, SEBIN officials forcibly returned him to the July 26 Prison a year later on August 27, 2016, claiming that Daniel planned to escape to “direct and coordinate acts of violence.” He was then transferred back to the Helicoide.

Daniel spent another two years in prison. In the Helicoide, he was placed in solitary confinement for a continuous period of 52 days. On June 2, 2018, he was released along with 16 other political prisoners, but he is required to appear in court every 30 days and cannot leave Venezuela. He had spent more than four years in detention.