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BOLIVARIAN REPUBLIC OF VENEZUELA:
OPPOSITION LEADER SENTENCED UNJUSTLY

Update info:
25 Sep 2015
Country:
BOLIVARIAN REPUBLIC OF VENEZUELA
Subject:
Leopoldo López
Gender: m
Period:
29 Oct 2015
Distribution date:
25 Sep 2015
UA No:
033/2014

Opposition leader Leopoldo López has been sentenced to 13 years and 9 months in prison. He is a prisoner of conscience and must be released immediately and unconditionally.

On 10 September Leopoldo López was found guilty of inciting violence during an anti-government protest on 12 February 2014. He was sentenced to 13 years and 9 months in prison for the charges of conspiracy, incitement to commit a crime, arson, and damage to public property.

Leopoldo López, leader of opposition party Popular Will, has been in detention since 18 February 2014 in a military prison in Los Teques, on the outskirts of the capital, Caracas. The charges against Leopoldo López were never adequately substantiated and the prison sentence against him is politically motivated.

In August 2014, the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention said that Leopoldo López’s detention was arbitrary and the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights urged the authorities to release him immediately.

Christian Holdack, Demian Martín and Ángel González, who were tried alongside Leopoldo López, were also found guilty but will spend their sentences outside of prison.

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ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Venezuelan authorities are showing a lack of respect for dissenting views as opposition politicians are the target of politically-motivated charges and human rights defenders are under continuous attacks and smear and intimidation campaigns from the authorities at the highest level. This is an in an attempt to discourage them from voicing their opposition to government laws and policies and has an effect beyond the immediate individuals targeted. The cumulative chilling effect can deter others from expressing critical views to government policies and actions.

During the pro and anti-government protests that took place in Venezuela between February and July 2014, at least 43 people died, including six members of the security forces, and 878 were injured, of which approximately 300 were members of the security forces, as a result of excessive use of force and violence perpetrated by law enforcement officials, anti-government protestors and armed pro-government groups. Some victims were subjected to torture and other ill-treatment.

Take action

Please write immediately in Spanish or your own language:

  • Calling on the authorities to immediately and unconditionally release Leopoldo López, as he is a prisoner of conscience who was arbitrarily detained and sentenced without any credible evidence against him; 
  • Urging them to ensure that those still detained since the 2014 protests do not remain in detention arbitrarily. 

PLEASE SEND APPEALS BEFORE 29 OCTOBER 2015 TO:
President
Sr. Nicolás Maduro Moros
Presidente de la Republica
Final Avenida Urdaneta, Esquina de Bolero, Palacio de Miraflores
Caracas, Venezuela
Twitter: @NicolasMaduro 
Salutation: Señor Presidente / Dear President 

Minister of Justice and Interior
Almirante en Jefa Carmen Teresa Meléndez Rivas
Ministerio del Poder Popular para Relaciones Interiores, Justicia y Paz
Av. Urdaneta, Edificio Interior y Justicia
Caracas, Venezuela
Fax: +58 212 5061558
Email: mijcudecon@gmail.com
Salutation: Señor Ministro / Dear Minister

And copies to:
Ombudsman
Tarek William Saab
Defensor del Pueblo
Av.  Urdaneta - Frente a El Universal
Centro Financiero Latino, Piso 27
Caracas, Venezuela
Fax: +58 212 5077025
Email: contacto@defensoria.gob.ve

Please also send copies to Leopoldo López’s family: antlop2014@gmail.com

Also send copies to diplomatic representatives accredited to your country.

Please check with your section office if sending appeals after the above date. This is the sixth update of UA 33/14. Further information: www.amnesty.org/en/documents/AMR53/1859/2015/en/