Miami Man Jailed In Venezuela Receives $153 Million From US Court

(A.P.) — MIAMI — The family of an exiled Venezuelan lawyer has been awarded $153 million in damages by a federal judge in Miami. The lawyer was lured back to Venezuela by the kidnapping of his father, but he ended up being imprisoned for two years on trumped up charges of working as a “financial terrorist” undermining President Nicolás Maduro’s rule. The charges were completely false.

After escaping Venezuela and speaking to The Associated Press about the beatings, asphyxiation, and other abuses he alleges to have undergone while in detention, Carlos Marrón initiated the complaint against the government of Venezuela.

His ordeal was met with severe criticism from the Human Rights Council of the United Nations, which determined that he had been arbitrarily detained for allegedly operating a website that published the black-market exchange rate of Venezuela’s erratic bolivar for U.S. dollars. This was something that the socialist government of Venezuela considered to be illegal.

The ruling that was issued on Monday is the second of its kind in recent months to target Maduro’s government over its alleged ties to the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia. It was issued in accordance with an obscure federal law that permits American victims of foreign terror groups to seize the assets of their victimizers. The ruling was issued on Monday.

A prominent opponent of Maduro’s government died in September after falling from the tenth floor of a building that belonged to Venezuela’s intelligence services in what a U.S. court described as a “murder for hire.” Another federal judge awarded $73 million to the family of the deceased opposition figure in September.

As he did in the earlier case, Marrón has accused Maduro of leading the “Cartel of the Suns,” a rumoured drug-smuggling ring involving high-ranking officials in Venezuela and guerrillas from the FARC, which is recognised as a terrorist organisation by the laws of the United States. This ring is said to be responsible for smuggling approximately 200 metric tonnes of cocaine into the United States annually from Venezuela.

Because Maduro and five other insiders, including his Attorney General Tarek William Saab and the former President of the Supreme Court Maikel Moreno, did not react to the lawsuit, Judge Federico Moreno issued a default judgement against them all. Maduro was one of the defendants in the case.

In it, Moreno wrote that the officials were liable for Marrón’s unlawful imprisonment because they were trying to shut down his business in Florida, viewing it as a threat to a “criminal organisation” that was based on narcotics trafficking, acts of terror, and violations of human rights. Moreno argued that this was because the officials saw his business as a threat to a “criminal organisation” that was based on violating human rights.

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