Mar. 19, 2008 Print This | Email This     

Cedeno Trial Postponed for Fourth Time in a Month

CARACAS, Venezuela, Mar. 19 /PRNewswire/ --

Venezuelan government prosecutors fail to appear; Eligio Cedeno awaits hearing

CARACAS, Venezuela, March 19 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Representatives of the Venezuelan Attorney General this week failed for the fourth time in a month to appear for Eligio Cedeno's legal hearing. Once again, the prosecutors failed to provide any explanation for their unwillingness to appear and present evidence before a judge. Cedeno, a prominent Venezuelan banker, accused of aiding Consorcio Microstar with illegal dollar transactions, was imprisoned in February 2007. He has remained in jail for more than a year awaiting his right to a fair trial and is one of the longest detained political prisoners in Venezuela.

Cedeno's trial was set to take place on March 12, but was again postponed by Judge Gabriela Salazar of Court 23 in Venezuela after prosecutors from the General District Attorney's Office of Venezuela were absent for the trial. This marks the fourth time no prosecutor appeared and the fourth time no advance notice or explanation for the absences was provided by Venezuelan prosecutors.

"The complete disregard for due process in the Venezuelan judicial system is appalling. More appalling is the fact that the Venezuelan prosecutors continue to hide from their own judicial system and the truth surrounding the baseless charges," said Victor Cerda, an attorney representing Cedeno in the United States. "It is time for the Venezuelan Government to set a trial date that will be respected and to put an end to Mr. Cedeno's persecution. Mr. Cedeno has cooperated with the Venezuelan legal system and remains steadfast in his desire to face his accusers and prove his innocence."

Cedeno has been denied his right to an impartial trial, right to reasonable bail, right to seek medical treatment, and right to present evidence in his defense. Some independent critics and observers speculate that the charges are politically motivated and that the Venezuelan Attorney General's case against Cedeno lacks the necessary evidence to uphold the charges before an impartial court. The case has been deferred indefinitely and a new date for the hearing has yet to be set.

Cedel International

CONTACT: Matt Lauer, +1-703-463-1841,, for Cedel

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