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Urgent Action outcome: Campaign for prisoner of conscience continues

Prisoner of conscience and union leader Rubén González has been arbitrarily detained since 29 November 2018. His trial was highly irregular, and in August 2019 he was sentenced by a military court despite his civilian status. His health problems have been aggravated by his detention and he has been denied the medical care he urgently needs. There have been no developments in his case. Amnesty International will continue to monitor his situation and advocate for his unconditional release. 




Rubén González is a Venezuelan labour activist and human rights defender who has been a target of Venezuelan governments for years due his activism and defence of labour rights. He was detained on 29 November 2018 following allegations that he had attacked a military officer who tried to arrest him and in August 2019 he was sentenced to five years and nine months in prison. Rubén’s prosecution by a military court and the lack of evidence of criminal responsibility are violations of his due process rights. His criminalisation occurs in a context of widespread arbitrary detentions made against people critical of the government or claiming their human rights.

Rubén González is currently being held in Monagas state, eastern Venezuela. His family and lawyers have repeatedly pleaded for medical care for his serious health conditions, including renal failure and hypertension. Authorities’ refusal to provide adequate care has put his life at risk. Rubén also suffers from a lack of food and water in the prison, reason for which his family must travel to provide those to him. In the context of the COVID-19 pandemic and significant fuel shortages in Venezuela, the ability of Rubén’s family to visit him has been severely limited.

On 12 June 2020, the United Nation’s working group on arbitrary detention released an opinion on Rubén’s case (United Nations document A/HRC/WGAD/2020/18), declaring his detention arbitrary and a continuation of a pattern of targeting labour activists. The body called for his immediate release and for reparations to him.

We thank our activists for their attention to Rubén’s case so far and encourage them to continue campaigning on behalf of Ruben until he is unconditionally released, as per the information in his casefile. Thanks to your advocacy, international human rights bodies have taken note of his case, and the government’s human rights abuses will not go unchallenged. Amnesty International will continue to monitor his case and advocate for his unconditional release.

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