Tags: LT | Venezuela | Political | Crisis

Venezuelan Opposition Leader Lopez Freed From Prison

Venezuelan Opposition Leader Lopez Freed From Prison

Saturday, 08 July 2017 08:25 AM

Venezuela's best-known jailed opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez has been granted house arrest after more than three years in jail, the country's Supreme Court said on Saturday, citing health problems.

Lopez, 46, was jailed in 2014 for his role in leading months of anti-government protests against President Nicolas Maduro.

"Maikel Moreno, president of the (Supreme Court), has granted a humanitarian measure that is in compliance with the law," the court tweeted, early on Saturday.

Opposition leaders and human rights activists around the world had for years condemned Lopez's imprisonment after what they called a sham trial on cooked up charges.

"We are thrilled that Leopoldo Lopez is at home with his family. They should give full freedom to him and all the political prisoners," fellow opposition leader Henrique Capriles said, referring to the several hundred other jailed activists.

The opposition has long called Lopez a political prisoner, and leaders around the world have pressed for his release, including U.S. President Donald Trump.

President Maduro, who for years refused to pardon Lopez, has described him as a dangerous terrorist who sought to overthrow him through street violence. Government supporters also often raise Lopez's role in a short-lived 2002 coup against former leader Hugo Chavez when he helped arrest a minister.

The South American OPEC nation has again been convulsed by street protests this year as the opposition demands early elections and a resolution of a crippling economic crisis.

On July 30, at Maduro's behest, Venezuela will hold an election for a constitutional assembly that will be able to dissolve state institutions and rewrite the constitution.

The opposition is vowing to boycott the vote, which they say is rigged and is designed to help entrench Maduro in power.

© 2019 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.

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Venezuela's Supreme Court says jailed opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez has been transferred to house arrest.
LT, Venezuela, Political, Crisis
Saturday, 08 July 2017 08:25 AM
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