Venezuela frees musician jailed after blasting government – Gulf News

Karen Palacios 1
Karen Palacios, center, is helped by family members after she was released from prison at Los Teques on the outskirts of Caracas, Venezuela, Tuesday, July 16, 2019. Palacios who plays the clarinet and was cut from the National Philharmonic for criticizing the government, was detained for 6 weeks.
Image Credit: AP

Caracas, Venezuela: Authorities in Venezuela on Tuesday released from prison a young musician who was jailed six weeks ago after taking to social media to vent her frustration against President Nicolas Maduro’s government

Karen Palacios blasted the government in a message that went viral after losing her job as top clarinetist in the National Philharmonic. Her mother says a week later two strangers appeared at their home saying the 25-year-old was needed for an interview at the presidential palace.

Karen Palacios' Yamaha clarinet
Karen Palacios’ Yamaha clarinet still rests atop the sheet music of Mozart’s concerto for the instrument that she diligently practiced the night two strangers dressed in black took her away in a luxury SUV, at her house in Los Teques in the outskirts of Caracas, Venezuela, Tuesday, July 16, 2019.
Image Credit: AP

Instead she was locked up at a military prison accused of violating Venezuela’s hate law, which was passed by lawmakers loyal to Maduro in 2017. It threatens sentences up to 20 years for any message through television, radio or social media that instigates violence or hate. Critics say the government uses the law to crack down on dissent.

National Institute of Feminine Orientation prison
The National Institute of Feminine Orientation prison, stands in Los Teques at the outskirts of Caracas, Venezuela, Tuesday, July 16, 2019.
Image Credit: AP

Rights groups condemned Palacios’ arrest as an example of the deteriorating human rights situation. A recent U.N. report said that since 2014 more than 15,000 people have been detained for political motives including more than 2,000 this year alone.

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