The National Court rejected this Tuesday the request submitted by the former head of the Venezuelan military counterintelligence until 2014, Hugo Armando Carvajal, better known as The Carvajal Chicken, to be provisionally released with precautionary measures while his application for asylum and international protection presented to the Ministry of the Interior is resolved to avoid his surrender to the United States, which is demanding him to be tried for drug trafficking. For the three magistrates of the Third Section of the Criminal Chamber, there is “a high risk” that the former high-ranking official of the governments of Hugo Chávez and Nicolás Maduro will flee again, after recalling that he did so in 2019, shortly before that his surrender to the US authorities materialized, and that he was only returned to justice after being arrested on September 9 in the Madrid apartment where he was hiding. Since his arrest, Pollo Carvajal has opened up to three legal fronts to prevent his delivery to the US justice system.
In their car, the magistrates emphasize that the former Venezuelan military “not only did not appear” before the court once, in November 2019, the National Court decreed his entry into prison to proceed with his extradition, but he remained “in hiding.” until the Spanish police recently discovered his whereabouts and arrested him. “There has been an authentic escape from the moment it has not been brought to justice, regardless of whether it has left Spain, which entails the need to maintain its current prison situation once the extradition has been judicially and governmentally resolved and only pending to materialize with the firmness of the denial of asylum and international protection ”, says the court order. The magistrates add that, therefore, the unconditional imprisonment is justified “to ensure the maintenance of the extradition procedure and, where appropriate, delivery to the United States. The suspension of this materialization is, still legitimate, one more maneuver to delay the extradition, which in no way can favor a fugitive such as the claimed Hugo Armando Carvajal Barrios, ”the text warns.
Since his arrest on September 9, Pollo Carvajal has launched a battery of legal maneuvers to prevent his surrender to the United States.When the extradition process was reopened after his recent arrest, the defense of the former Venezuelan military appealed the resolution of the Asylum and Refuge Office, under the Ministry of the Interior, in which it denied him international protection in September 2019. In this sense, in the order known this Tuesday, the court recalls that the National High Court has already agreed to suspend the extradition until the final resolution of this file. However, Carvajal’s lawyer has already announced that, in the event that Interior reaffirms its refusal to grant him asylum, it will appeal this decision before the Administrative Litigation Chamber of the National Court and, even, showed its willingness to continue to sue before Constitutional Court and the Strasbourg Human Rights Court.
In his attempt to stop his delivery to the United States, Carvajal has also appealed all the resolutions that have fallen against him, both in the National Court and in the Supreme Court. The high court plans to deliberate in the coming weeks on the challenge raised by the former military to the agreement of the Council of Ministers that, on March 3, 2020, approved his surrender to be tried in the southern district of New York. While the Contentious-Administrative Chamber decides whether or not to admit the appeal, Carvajal has tried, on two occasions, for the magistrates to suspend the delivery in a precautionary manner. In the first brief presented to the Supreme Court, the former general supported his request that the “sole purpose” of the United States in requesting his extradition was to subject him “to torture” in order “to obtain information on the prevailing regime in the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela”. The court rejected the precautionary measure in May 2020. When the court issued that ruling, the former military man was missing. After entering prison again, Carvajal has once again tried his luck in the Contentious Chamber and has again requested the precautionary suspension of his delivery. The court has not yet decided.
Finally, Carvajal has tried to have the Spanish justice consider him a protected witness. Thus, after his first arrest, in April 2019, the former Venezuelan minister announced his intention to offer the Spanish justice relevant information about the alleged links of the Chavista regime with the Lebanese terrorist group Hezbollah. A judge of the National High Court opened a case that he declared secret and called him to testify, but at the last moment, Pollo Carvajal refused to do so and the case was closed. After his recent arrest, the former general again showed his intention to testify. He did it last September 20 under secret and for an hour and a half. According to legal sources, at the appearance, he announced that he would bring “important documents” to the cause.