As Venezuela struggles to manage an ever-worsening economic and political crisis, its chief prosecutor has accused security officers of excessive force.
Luisa Ortega’s comments came after almost two months of near-daily anti-government rallies and as cracks appear in Nicolas Maduro’s Socialist administration.
She said 55 people had been killed and around 1,000 injured in the unrest, adding:
“In accordance with our investigation, the death of one particular student came about by a cardiogenic shock due to closed chest trauma. He was struck with an object like this,” she said, holding up a tear gas canister. “An object like this struck him. […] This hit him. This is a tear gas bomb.”
Ortega said it had been fired from close range by a National Guard. She told the press the findings contradicted official reports of 20-year-old Juan Pernalete being killed by a pistol.
The prosecutor also expressed concern about a reported seven cases of military courts trying people who should have their cases heard in civil courts and demanded access to detainees.