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CITGO 6 members now under house arrest

CITGO executive Alirio Zambrano
Posted at 4:59 PM, Dec 10, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-10 23:54:40-05

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Gabriela Zambrano Hill has confirmed to KRIS Communications that her father Alirio Zambrano; his brother, Jose Luis Zambrano; and the four other members of the CITGO 6 have been released from prison and placed under house arrest.

"We've been able to confirm that they've been put on house arrest, but there's just so much happening right now, we are just absorbing that fact still," she said.

Two unnamed sources familiar with the case confirmed to the Associated Press late Monday that the men had been transferred. The sources spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the case.

The two people said the mens' lawyers made the request to be granted house arrest due to health concerns.

"Essentially what's changed is: Their conditions are infinitely safer," Zambrano Hill said. "(Their conditions) were extremely dangerous and terrible before. But they still don't have their liberty, basically."

Two of Zambrano's daughters, Zambrano Hill and and Alexandra Zambrano Forseth, actively have worked to get their father released, including circulating a petition last month they planned to take to the U.S. government for help in getting their father released. In October, they also helped organize a march in Houston designed to bring attention to the mens' plight.

"All of us feel that this change is the direct result of all the hard work that the community and our elected officials have been doing," Zambrano Hill said. "This is proof that the regime in Venezuela is seeing this -- seeing us be aware of what's happening to these unjustly detained men -- and is responding."

There was no immediate comment from Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro's government.

The men reportedly have faced inhumane treatment, including malnourishment and isolation while in jail in Venezuela.

A little more than two years ago, Zambrano and the other men were summoned to Venezuela, where CITGO's parent company is based. When they arrived, they were accused of embezzlement and treason, and imprisoned.

Zambrano Hill said those charges are false, and she won't stop fighting for her father and the other members of the CITGO 6 until they return home.

"All we can do is just keep pushing -- keep showing everyone that we care about them and hope for the best," she said.