In SEBIN El Helicoide, the women’s cell was located directly under an office used
by SEBIN officials to torture detainees, from which the women could hear what occurred in
the office above. Several women who had been detained there described the range of torture
they regularly
overheard against both men and women, including beatings, electric shocks
and asphyxiation with plastic bags. On one occasion, SEBIN officials asked the women if
they had any extra bags, which they then used to asphyxiate victims.
They also saw the
battered detainees as they were brought through the hallway into the detention area after the
abuses.
Two witnesses told the Mission about an incident which occurred in December 2015
in which they overheard the rape of a female detainee in the office above them.
They told
the Mission they heard an official tell the woman to “turn over” or “get on your knees”,
because it was her “turn”. They then heard her cries of pain. One witness had to move to
another area of the cell because she could not bear to listen.
The victim was later brought into
the women’s cell, where she confirmed that she had been raped. One witness described that
hearing a woman being raped was like torture for all the women in the cell.
A civilian detainee told the Mission that an officer told him that since he was a mariquita (faggot), they would only apply 220 volts of electricity rather than 440, before
applying electric shocks to his naked body.
One military detainee told the Mission how
DGCIM officials would subject new prisoners to a ‘game’ called “breastfeeding”. They beat naked detainees with a bat with the word “teta” (tit) written on it.
Officials also attached the bat perpendicularly to a wall and pushed the naked men backwards towards it, with the aim of anally penetrating them
In other cases, DGCIM and SEBIN officials attacked men’s social identity by threatening to rape or otherwise harm their female relatives. One man told the Mission
that these threats made him feel guilty and ashamed he had not done enough to protect his
family.
The Mission documented the following acts of torture and other ill-treatment against these targets:
• Stress positions called the “crucifixion” (arms spread out and handcuffed to pipes or grilles) and “the octopus”/
“el pulpo” (a metal belt with chains attached to immobilize
the wrist and ankles)
• Asphyxiation with plastic bags, chemical substances or a bucket of water
• Beatings, sometimes with a stick or other blunt object
• Electric shocks to the genitals or other parts of the body
• Death threats or threats of additional violence
• Threats of rape against the victim and/or their relatives
• Psychological torture including sensorial deprivation, constant lighting and extreme cold
• Forced nudity including in rooms kept at extremely low temperatures
Former SEBIN director Christopher Figuera told the Mission that President Maduro decided who would be
tortured, who would remain detained and who would be released.

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