Tags: oscar lopez rivera | freed | house arrest | puerto rico

Oscar Lopez Rivera Freed From House Arrest

Image: Oscar Lopez Rivera Freed From House Arrest

Puerto Rican nationalist Oscar Lopez Rivera greets well wishers as he is released from home confinement after 36 years in federal custody, in San Juan, Puerto Rico, Wednesday, May 17, 2017. (AP Photo/Carlos Giusti)

By    |   Wednesday, 17 May 2017 01:47 PM

Oscar Lopez Rivera, the Puerto Rican nationalist who had been in prison since 1981 was freed from house arrested Wednesday after former president Barack Obama commuted his sentence before leaving office.

Lopez Rivera was considered a top leader of the ultranationalist Puerto Rican group the Armed Forces of National Liberation, or FALN, The Associated Press reported. The group claimed responsibility for more than 100 bombings at government buildings, department stores, banks and restaurants in New York, Chicago, Washington, and Puerto Rico during the 1970s and early 1980s.

While many Puerto Ricans hailed Lopez Rivera as a patriot and political prisoner, those seeking the island's independence from the United States remained a small group, the AP noted.

After Obama commuted his sentence, Lopez Rivera moved to his daughter's home in Puerto Rico, where he remained under house arrest until Wednesday, according to Latin American news broadcaster teleSUR.

"I thank the whole world, and I ask for love for the whole world," Lopez told the media, according to teleSUR. "I like to listen. I want to visit each municipality, listen and see what we can do."

Lopez Rivera was born in Puerto Rico in 1943 but later moved to Chicago as a child. After fighting in the Vietnam War, he returned to Chicago and joined the Puerto Rican independence movement in 1976, teleSUR noted.

He was arrested and charged with "seditious conspiracy" for his role in FALN activities in 1981 and sentenced to 55 years in prison. Former U.S. President Bill Clinton offered Lopez Rivera a pardon in 1999, but he rejected it in an act of solidarity with other Puerto Rican activists who had not been offered clemency, teleSUR noted.

While in prison, Lopez Rivera received support for his release from Pope Francis, former President Jimmy Carter and "Hamilton" creator Lin-Manuel Miranda, The Associated Press reported. He is expected to be recognized in Chicago this week and honored by his supporters in New York with a parade on Puerto Rican Day June 11, the AP said.

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Oscar Lopez Rivera, the Puerto Rican nationalist who had been in prison since 1981 was freed from house arrested Wednesday after former president Barack Obama commuted his sentence before leaving office.
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Wednesday, 17 May 2017 01:47 PM
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