[Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro] possesses, however, few of his predecessor’s resources, lacking not just oil revenue but Chávez’s surplus of charisma, humour and political skill. Maduro, unable to end the crisis, has increasingly sided with the privileged classes against the masses; his security forces are regularly dispatched into barrios to repress militants under the guise of fighting crime. Having lost its majority in Congress, the government, fearing it can’t win at the polls the way Chávez did, cancelled gubernatorial elections that had been set for December last year (though they now appear to be on again). Maduro has convened an assembly to write a new constitution, supposedly with the objective of institutionalising the power of social movements, though it is unlikely to lessen the country’s polarisation.
It has now been 142 days since Schabir Shaik was released from prison on medical parole in order to die a dignified death in terms of the appropriate legislation. Shaik, however, is still very much alive. Newspapers even published a claim that Shaik was spotted in a fancy Durban Restaurant at the end of last month. Is this a medical miracle in the making?
Just a reminder that section 79 of the Act states that:
Any person serving any sentence in a prison and who, based on the written evidence of the medical practitioner treating that person, is diagnosed as being in the ﬁnal phase of any terminal disease or condition may be considered for placement under correctional supervision or on parole, by the Commissioner, Correctional Supervision and Parole Board or the court, as the case may be, to die a consolatory and digniﬁed death.
The fact that Shaik is still alive almost five months after being released on medical parole, means that either his doctors made a terrible mistake when they diagnosed him as being in the final stages of a terminal illness, or they never really diagnosed him as being in the final stages of a terminal illness but the parole board nevertheless unlawfully ordered his release and the then Minister of Correctional Services lied to the nation about the true state of affairs. (Well, either that or divine intervention is creating a medical miracle in front of our eyes.)
I will continue to remind readers every 30 days that Shaik is still alive. I really do not want Shaik to die. I just want him to go back to prison where the law seemingly requires him to be.
Every 30 days that Shaik remains alive provides more proof that the medical parole board released Shaik unlawfully and that the government (and specifically the Minister of Correctional Services at the time) lied about his condition. If he had been terminally ill when released – as required by the Correctional Services Act – Shaik would surely have been dead by now. With the passing of every month, the scandal of his release grows bigger. We should not forget this.BACK TO TOP