Sergeant Arli Méndez took the life of David Vallenilla during the 2017 protests
Venezuelan Sergeant Arli Méndez Terán was sentenced this Friday to 23 years in prison as responsible for murder of the young David Vallenilla during the 2017 protests, one of the deaths that caused the most impact of those demonstrations, reported the attorney general, Tarek William Saab. “Sergeant Arli Méndez Terán was sentenced at the request of the Public Ministry by the 15th Court of Trial as responsible for the death of David Vallenilla. Said penalty will be 23 years in prison for the crimes of qualified homicide and improper use of organic weapons,” he wrote Saab on his Twitter account.
Last September, Judge Kenia Carrillo acquitted the Bolivarian Military Aviation sergeant, which opened a strong controversy after which the Prosecutor’s Office opened a criminal investigation to the magistrate and appealed her decision. Saab explained that, for the conviction, the Public Ministry showed “more than 30 bodies of evidence presented by prosecutors and experts” who acted “on the basis of what is established” by the constitution and the laws. The Vallenilla case is included in the file to investigate the Venezuelan State in the International Criminal Court (ICC). The young man died in July 2017, when the military man shot him at point-blank range during a protest in front of an air base in Caracas.
As the lawyer in the case, María Alejandra Poleo, explained to EFE, after the first acquittal, the case was also outlined in the report of the UN Commission for the Determination of Facts on Venezuela. However, he explained that he has suffered procedural delay since 2017 and it was not until February of this year that this trial “full of interruptions” was resumed. Of the homicide there are diverse videos, testimonies and studies that were presented by the lawyer in court and that, at the time of the crime, provoked a wave of indignation.