Vermont Secretary of State launches ‘Transparency Tour’ starts October 11

first_imgVermont Secretary of State Jim Condos announces he will conduct a 12 stop tour to discuss Vermont’s public records and open meeting laws with municipal and state employees and citizens who serve on local government boards. The public is invited and encouraged to attend these events. After a presentation there will be time for Q&A and a general discussion with the audience. This is a great opportunity to address specific issues that you may have questions about, and to discuss the nuances of these laws. Secretary Condos stated, ‘Open and transparent government is good government! Vermont’s citizens deserve accountability in their government.’ ‘This tour allows me to assist Vermont’s public officials who must abide by these laws every day. We recognize that these laws are not always clear and we need to hear from them regarding the challenges they face and the questions they have. I look forward to engaging in an open discussion about the importance of access to public records and public meetings.’ All events will be held from 6-8 pm. Dates and locations are as follows:Montpelier                         Pavilion Building                             Tuesday               October 11th          Colchester                          St. Mike’s College                           Thursday             October 13thNewport                              Goodrich Library                              Thursday             October 20thSt. Albans Town                Town Hall                                           Tuesday               October 25thSpringfield                         Springfield High School                Wednesday        October 26thBrattleboro                        Town Hall                                            Thursday             October 27thSt. Johnsbury                     St. J Middle School                          Tuesday               November 1stMorrisville                          Municipal Offices                            Thursday             November 3rdMiddlebury                        Ilsley Public Library                        Monday               November 7thBennington                        Fire Facility                                        Wednesday        November 9thRutland                                City Hall                                               Thursday             November 17thWhite River Junction     Bugbee Senior Center                   Tuesday               November 22nd We are pleased to welcome the participation of the following organizations: VT League of Cities and Towns, VT Municipal Clerks and Treasurers Association, VT School Boards Association, VT Press Association, VT American Civil Liberties Union and VT Common Cause. To find out more information and to RSVP, please contact Nancy Lynch @ 802-828-2148 or via email at nancy.lynch@sec.state.vt.us(link sends e-mail).last_img read more

Harsh Detention Conditions Persist for Political Prisoners in Venezuela

first_imgBy Diálogo November 04, 2020 In late August, the illegitimate Nicolás Maduro regime surprised the international community by announcing so called 110 pardons and house arrests for political prisoners who until then had been illegally detained. However, the release of a few prisoners brought to light the harsh detention conditions that persist in cells of the General Directorate of Military Counterintelligence (DGCIM, in Spanish) and the Bolivarian National Intelligence Service (SEBIN, in Spanish).Venezuelan political analyst Nicmer Evans was detained for 51 days at the DGCIM headquarters in Caracas before his September 1 release. There, he was assigned to three different cell areas. According to Evans, a cell in one sector was intended to punish detainees.“In that cell, number four, there are five people locked up, dressed in overalls [prison uniforms], who were let out just once every 15 days. They received insufficient food rations. Those of us who were in the same section took from our rations to share with them,” he said. Evans added that the lights in the DGCIM basements are left on for days and then turned off for similar periods, so that inmates would lose the sense of time.Evans also witnessed when jailers sent Bolivarian National Guard (GNB, in Spanish) Colonel (ret.) Oswaldo García Palomo to isolation. The former officer was arrested in January 2019, due to his alleged participation in a plot to depose Maduro.“[They] called the Colonel and told him to bring a container with 5 liters of water and an empty one. Then, they took him to […] a very narrow cell, without light, that’s between two corridors. [Jailers] told García Palomo that the water was for him to drink, and the empty pot for him to urinate,” he said.U.N. commissionOn September 12, a delegation of U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet was able to visit some detainees at the headquarters of DGCIM and SEBIN. Following the meeting, Bolivarian Navy Captain Luis de la Sotta, who has been detained for 28 months, told his sister Molly de la Sotta that they were punished with prolonged confinement and were deprived of medicine.For example, GNB Brigadier General Héctor Hernández Da Costa, who has been incarcerated since August 2018 for his supposed participation in an alleged attack against Maduro and who also spoke with U.N. envoys, suffers from diabetic necrosis on his foot, his attorney Zoraida Castillo said. She said that although he is taken to the military hospital, no tests are done. Doctors stand by him “and take a photo, I think with the intention of showing it later to the U.N.”According to Venezuelan human rights organization Foro Penal, in mid-September, 333 people are believed to remain incarcerated as prisoners of conscience throughout the country.Alonso Medina, a Venezuelan lawyer specializing in military jurisdiction, said that there have been few verified modifications in the treatment of prisoners of conscience following Bachelet’s 2019 and 2020 reports.“A group of prisoners was allowed to make phone calls, which they couldn’t do before. Others were taken out to get some sun. But there is no criterion as to who can make calls or sunbathe […]. Generally, prisoners remain incommunicado,” he said.On September 15, the Fact-Finding Mission on the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, a group created by the U.N. Human Rights Council to investigate arbitrary detentions, torture, and other cruel treatment, submitted a report documenting 77 cases of torture. According to the document, these tortures happened at the DGCIM headquarters and other locations in the city. Despite limitations, such as restricted access to Venezuela for the mission’s team and the COVID-19 outbreak, the report establishes that the regime has committed “violations of international human rights law and international criminal law.”Evans recalled seeing scars on service members and civilians who were tortured and remain detained at the DGCIM. An inmate spent so much time hanging from handcuffs that “his left arm is dislocated,” he said. Others have marks on their skin because of the electric shocks they received, the political analyst said.All this happens while the courts are on a standstill due to the pandemic. “All we have left is the Office of the Ombudsman and the [Defense] Ministry. But we already know what will happen there,” Molly de la Sotta concluded.last_img read more

Champions League action tonight

first_imgThe Swedish international is set to leave Paris in the summer and is being linked with a move to the Premier League.In tonight’s other quarter-final, Real Madrid will have to overcome a shock 2-0 first-leg defeat as they play host to Wolfsburg.Both games will kick-off at 7.45. Man City have home advantage over P-S-G ahead of the second-leg of their quarter-final.City will be hoping to build on the two away goals they scored in the 2-all first-leg draw.The French champions will once-again be led by star striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic as they seek an upset in Manchester.last_img read more