Amnesty urges ICC to probe Venezuela's alleged crimes against humanity under Maduro

Officers labelled only as “Federal Agents” enter the embassy with attorney Mara Verheyden-Hilliard

Officers labelled only as “Federal Agents” enter the embassy with attorney Mara Verheyden-Hilliard

It also emphasized its support for the parliamentary immunity of National Assembly members in Venezuela.

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro's administration has blockaded the congress building. Lawmakers loyal to Maduro generally do not attend the sessions but go to meetings of the Constituent Assembly, a legislative body created in 2017 that meets in the same building.

He also claimed the uprising called by opposition leader Juan Guaido that saw demonstrators take to the streets and clash with Maduro's National Guard had not been a failure, despite it not successfully ousting the president from power.

His rule has been marked by a massive economic and political crisis, with about 3.4 million Venezuelans fleeing hyperinflation, goods shortages and political unrest overseas.

"The future of Venezuela will be decided by the armed forces: either they stay in power with the same government or they remove Maduro", Heleno said in an interview.

The Supreme Court accused lawmakers Carlos Paparoni, Miguel Pizarro, Franco Casella and Winston Flores of treason and inciting rebellion. The legislators are suspected of involvement in an alleged coup attempt by Guaido on April 30.

Two of the lawmakers under investigation have sought refuge at the Italian embassy and one at the Argentinian embassy in Caracas.

Ramon Rangel, who identified himself as an air force general, said the Venezuelan government is being controlled by the "communist dictatorship" in Cuba - a key Maduro ally.

Some Maduro opponents were tortured while 900 people, including children, were arbitrarily detained, Amnesty said.

"Eleven of these deaths were extrajudicial executions", said Erika Guevara, Americas director for Amnesty International, who presented a report in Mexico City, following February's fact-finding mission to Venezuela.

Venezuela's information ministry, which handles media inquiries on behalf of the government, did not respond to a request for comment on why security forces blocked the entrance to parliament.

The events during those five days reflect a policy of repression documented by Amnesty since 2014, the rights group said.

It called on the U.N. Human Rights Council and International Criminal Court to investigate.

In Russia on Tuesday, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and said later that he had urged Moscow to end its support for Maduro.

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