Venezuelan opposition leader Lopez granted house arrest
Venezuela's best-known jailed opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez was out of prison and hugging his family on Saturday after being granted house arrest following three years in jail for leading anti-government protests, APA reports quoting Reuters.
Lopez's return to his Caracas home comes as Venezuela is once again convulsed by demonstrations against socialist President Nicolas Maduro, struggling with an economic crisis and global censure for overriding the powers of the country's opposition-led congress.
Lopez, 46, a photogenic, Harvard-educated former mayor who has been barred from holding elected office, left the Ramo Verde military jail before dawn and was reunited with his wife and two young children, relatives said.
"A few days ago they had punished him with solitary confinement without light or water for three days," said his father, of the same name, in an interview with Spanish radio.
"(Now) he's hugging his children, he's with his wife ... I'm happy, he's happy of course," he added, adding that his son was wearing an electronic tag for authorities to track him.
The opposition has long called Lopez a political prisoner, and leaders around the world, including U.S. President Donald Trump, have pressed for his release.
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 often note Lopez's role in a short-lived 2002 coup against the late former leader Hugo Chavez when he helped arrest a minister.
Venezuela's Supreme Court said Lopez had been granted house arrest due to health problems, but his family members were unable to identify what those were.
Opposition leaders applauded Lopez's return home, but said he should be granted complete freedom, along with several hundred other jailed opponents of Maduro.
The government says all imprisoned activists are being held on legitimate charges, including coup-plotting.
State ombudsman Tarek Saab said in an interview with CNN that the measure was the result of efforts by a state-backed truth commission, which he said is also studying the release of other citizens detained amid protests.
The release was aided in part by the involvement of former Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, who has for years maintained talks with Venezuela's government, Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy told reporters at the G20 meeting in Hamburg.
Related news releases
- 19.09.2017US to pay 'high cost' if it leaves Iran deal: Rouhani
- 19.09.2017Powerful Hurricane Maria targets Caribbean, Puerto Rico
- 19.09.2017US Senate overwhelmingly approves defense spending bill
- 19.09.2017Xi and Trump discuss sanctions pressure on North Korea: White House
- 18.09.2017France defends Iran nuclear deal, Trump to decide soon
- 18.09.2017President Ilham Aliyev attended Political Declaration for UN Reform High Level Event in New York
- 18.09.2017128 Nations Sign US Declaration on Reform of United Nations
- 18.09.2017UN stunted by 'bureaucracy and mismanagement': Trump
- 17.09.2017US denies U-turn on climate deal
- 17.09.2017UN Security Council to hold ministerial meeting on non-proliferation next week
- 17.09.2017Jets strike U.S.-backed forces in eastern Syria
- 17.09.2017St Louis police killing: 30 arrests after acquittal protests
- 16.09.2017Venezuela's Maduro upbeat on talks, opposition fear 'show'
- 16.09.2017Police arrest man at Dover port, search house in London bomb manhunt
- 16.09.2017US Hurricanes Expose Vulnerabilities of Bank Infrastructure
- 16.09.2017World’s oldest person dies
- 16.09.2017UN Security Council condemns DPRK over missile launch, stresses political solution
- 16.09.2017State Department describes plans for cuts, offers few specifics: sources
- 16.09.2017North Korea's nuke program won't end until 'equilibrium of real force' achieved
- 16.09.2017NASA ends Cassini’s mission orbiting Saturn
- 16.09.2017After new missile test, U.S. says North Korea threatens whole world
- 16.09.2017Brazil president faces racketeering, obstruction of justice charges
- 15.09.2017Trump signs resolution condemning white supremacists
- 15.09.2017UN chief condemns North Korea’s latest missile test
- 15.09.2017Trump says internet must be ‘cut off’ to stop further terror attacks
- 15.09.2017UN Security Council to meet amid North Korea’s missile launch
- 15.09.20171 soldier killed, 7 wounded at U.S. military base
- 15.09.2017Hurricane Max downgraded to tropical storm, moves inland over Mexico
- 15.09.2017Trump repeats equivocal Charlottesville rhetoric after meeting with black senator
- 15.09.2017American fighting for ISIL captured in Syria
- 15.09.2017Lawsuit accuses Google of discriminating against women in pay, promotions
- 14.09.2017Tillerson urges more pressure on North Korea
- 14.09.2017Trump says he is close to a deal with Democrats on immigration
- 14.09.2017US imposes new Iran sanctions over ballistic missile program, 'cyberattacks' - UPDATED
- 14.09.2017Trump administration orders purge of Kaspersky products from U.S. government
- 14.09.2017Gunman in Washington state high school shooting was student - UPDATED
- 14.09.2017Training accident leaves 15 US marines injured at Camp Pendleton
- 13.09.2017Trump administration sued over warrantless searches
- 13.09.2017US notes positively Mehman Aliyev’s release
- 13.09.2017U.N.'s Guterres calls on Myanmar to end violence
- 08.07.2017Relations with the U.S. cannot be defined by 'murmurs': Mexico president
- 09.07.2017American college graduate beaten to death in Greece
- 11.07.2017Trump administration delays startup visa rules
- 08.07.2017Trump: Meeting with Putin was ‘tremendous’
- 08.07.2017At least one killed in blaze at El Salvador ministry
- 07.07.2017Washington expressed concern over the killing of civilians in Alkhanli village of Azerbaijan’s Fizuli region