One of two American veterans detained earlier this week by Venezuelan security forces has appeared on state television in the South American nation.
In a heavily edited video, Luke Denman is shown looking directly at the camera and describing his alleged role in what the Maduro government claims is a “failed coup” attempt organized by US security firm Silvercorp. Silvercorp has not responded to requests for comment.
While it is not clear whether Denman was speaking under duress, Venezuela’s government described the edited clip as a “confession”.
Denman was detained on Monday alongside fellow US military veteran Aaron Berry. Both men are former US special forces soldiers.
In the video Denman is questioned by a man off camera, who asks the former soldier what he was doing in Venezuela. There was no indication that Denman had legal representation present during the interrogation.
The Venezuelan government has broadcast edited video “confessions” in the past, a practice that has been criticized by human rights groups.
Denman and Berry will be tried in a civilian court for their part in the alleged operation, the country’s president Nicolas Maduro said earlier on Wednesday..
The Venezuelan president has accused Silvercorp CEO Jordan Goudreau of masterminding the incident.
Answering a question from CNN during a virtual press conference in Caracas on Wednesday, Maduro said the two men would receive a fair trial and that Venezuela’s Attorney General office was now in charge of the detainees.
It is unclear where they are being held. Both Maduro and the Attorney General’s office in Caracas has yet to provide information about the men’s whereabouts.
Denman’s mother, Kay, previously told CNN that she is concerned for her son.
“We are trying to get information and looking for what we need to do here on our side,” she told CNN. “No one has contacted myself or my husband.”
The Venezuelan leader said his Foreign Ministry would denounce the alleged invasion at the International Criminal Court in the Hague and request Goudreau’s extradition from the US.
Footage posted on Maduro’s official Twitter account on Monday claims to show the alleged incident. In the clip, several unidentifiable men can be seen in a boat with their hands in the air and a helicopter overhead.
The US State Department had earlier said Maduro’s claim was part of a major disinformation campaign.
During Wednesday’s press conference, Maduro repeated accusations against US president Donald Trump, Colombian president Ivan Duque and Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido of being complicit in the alleged coup. All have denied any involvement.