Maria Lourdes Afiuni
Criminal lawyer and judge for about eight years who served in Caracas’ 31st Control Court. Afiuni was arrested in 2009 on charges of corruption after granting conditional release on bail to businessman Eligio Cedeño, who then fled the country. During her detention along with people she had previously convicted, she denounced to have been raped and threatened. Her right to due process was violated when her legal counsel was disqualified by the court. Instead, Afiuni was appointed public defender Susana Barreiros, a provisional judge who sentenced political leader Leopoldo López to nearly 14 years in prison. Afiuni was granted house arrest due to health issues in 2011 and paroled in 2013. This ruling did not erase the charges of corruption. On March 21, 2019, Afiuni was sentenced to 5 more years in prison on charges of “Spiritual Corruption,” a term used to reference a conviction that has no supportive evidence. The United Nations and other organizations have condemned the ruling.