An anti-terrorist court in Caracas issued a sentence of 20 years and 9 days in prison to Luke Denman and Airan Berry, the two former US military contractors (mercenaries) who participated in the so-called Operation Gideon, aimed at the decapitation of the government chaired by President Nicolás Maduro.
The information about the conviction of Denman and Berry was released on Friday night by the attorney general, Tarek William Saab, who stressed that both subjects admitted their responsibility in the crime, for which they were convicted at the preliminary hearing held yesterday at the Palace of Justice in Caracas.
Denman and Berry were arrested on the beaches of Chuao, Aragua state on Monday, May 4, a day after the unsuccessful attempt to enter Venezuela through the coasts of Macuto, La Guaira. Testifying before the intelligence services, Denman and Berry said their mission was to take over an airport to guarantee the kidnapping of President Maduro to the United States.
1) #AHORA lista la 1era audiencia preliminar CASO GEDEÓN ( mercenarios d Silvercorp ) los ciudadanos Luke Denman y Airan Berry fueron acusados por Fiscales d la causa por graves #delitos .. #HOY LUEGO D ANTERIOR AUDIENCIA D DELACIÓN: ADMITIERON SU RESPONSABILIDAD EN LOS HECHOS pic.twitter.com/ntbpqY7Nz9
— Tarek William Saab (@TarekWiliamSaab) August 8, 2020
Denman and Berry were charged with the crimes of conspiracy, association to commit crimes, illicit trafficking of weapons of war and terrorism. The Prosecutor’s Office requested that they be tried along with other civilians and former Venezuelan soldiers. This Friday the preliminary hearing was held, where the Antiterrorist Court would debate whether or not to order the defendants to go to trial as requested by the Public Ministry. And it was precisely at that hearing that Denman and Berry admitted their involvement in Operation Gideon. Because of this, the Court proceeded to convict them. The preliminary hearing continues in the next few hours with the rest of the terrorist plotters.
A little history. Operation Gideon began to be prepared after the failure of the April 30, 2019 action that also sought to “unseat” the government of President Maduro, as John Bolton, former US National Security adviser, confessed a year and a half later.
The military and civilians who participated on April 30 fled to Colombia where they began training in three camps led by former US military personnel Jordán Goudreao, Denman and Berry, among others. From there, a maritime incursion was conceived to liquidate the Maduro government, as described by Goudreao on May 3, the day on which a first outpost of Operation Gideon tried to penetrate through Macuto (La Guaira state). Goudreau, as the owner of the Silvercop company, even exhibited a copy of a contract that Juan Guaidó had signed to complete the overthrow of Maduro. The document has 47 pages, the first 7 of which were exhibited by Goudreao himself to the media.
Minister Jorge Rodríguez outlined some details of those undisclosed pages. This part of the contract involves 13 deputies, who developed the different phases of Operation Gideon. In their first articles they define three groups: Associate (former Venezuelan military), Advisors (service provider personnel, that is, Silvercorp) and Task Force (partners).
The chain of command for the operation was headed by Juan Guaidó (Commander-in-Chief), Sergio Vergara (General Project Supervisor), Juan José Rendón (Chief Strategist), and a commander at the site “to be determined”. The operation established the use of lethal force with cluster bombs, among others, to control demonstrations.
Featured image: File photo.