A notorious revolutionary, Leopoldo Lopez, has recently been found guilty of “public incitement to violence and association to commit crimes” during protests in 2014, where it was reported that 43 people from both political sides died. Lopez has been in custody since February 2014 and will now carry out 13 years and 9 months in prison.
Lopez is an active politician who is the founder and National Coordinator for the Venezuelan political party, Voluntad Popular. His incitement of the protest to oust current president Maduro was documented on his Twitter account, where prosecutors claimed that over 700 of the messages sent around the time of the protest called for violence. His wife, Lilian Tintori, and supporters argue that Lopez called for peaceful protest and that the security authorities were the ones who provoked it, though there is little evidence to suggest this.
However, there is a foul smell surrounding this case. According to the article, Venezuela Opposition Leader Leopoldo Lopez Sentenced, “His defence team earlier said there had been serious irregularities in the trial, with the judge hearing 138 witnesses for the prosecution but only one of the 50 witnesses and pieces of evidence submitted by the defence”. It is also rumored that Lopez’s human rights were violated during his detainment. His family stated that he had been held in solitary confinement for almost all of his 19 month stay in prison. Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights all called for Lopez’s release from his initial holding period as well as numerous previous presidents who protested the charges against him.
Posted by Sophie Terry