Venezuelan prosecutor declares “I left because I didn’t want to defend a farce”
3 noviembre, 2015
After leaving Venezuela to seek asylum in the United States, the Venezuelan prosecuting attorney, Franklin Nieves, admitted through a public video that the trial against Leopoldo Lopez was a farce and declared that the opposition leader is innocent.
Franklin Nieves and his family have suffered a real persecution and pressures from his superiors and the Venezuelan Government, due to his participation in Leopoldo Lopez’s case. During Leopoldo’s trial, Nieves was one of the two main prosecutors. However, Luisa Ortega, Chief of the Prosecutor’s office, declared in an official statement that, “we at the prosecutor’s office, don’t put pressure on anyone”.
Leopoldo López is part of the “Voluntad Popular” party, the main opposition party in Venezuela. The Government has accused him on February, 2014 of inciting the population to violence by participating in antigovernment protests in Venezuela. In September, after a year-long trial, López was sentenced to almost 14 years in prison for ‘inciting violence‘. A charge that is frequently used by arbitrary governments as explained Rafael Micheletti of the think tank “Libertad”.
Leopoldo’s wife, Lilian Tintori, and his lawyer, Juan Carlos Gutierrez, have contacted some Western countries in order to obtain International support to fight for his freedom. They have received support from multiple governments. For instance, the French socialists which supported Leopoldo’s cause and called for the reestablishment of a real democracy in Venezuela. In the case of Spain, the current government and the opposition have met Leopoldo’s wife in order to make the unfair sentence visible to the international community. Maduro’s government was quick to condemn these measures and he declared that Mariano Rajoy should not interfere in internal issues occurring in Venezuela.
Furthermore, many NGOs and various distinguished people have voiced their support for Leopoldo and his innocence. Twenty Venezuelan NGOs have rejected the sentence. They have declared that this sentence is proof of the lack of democratic freedom in Venezuela, as a result of Maduro’s government. Moreover, Amnesty International remains concerned that Leopoldo López’ detention appears to be politically motivated. Erika Guevara-Rosas, Director for the Américas of Amnesty International, explained “Leopoldo should have never been arrested or judged in the first place. He is a prisoner of conscience and he should be released immediately.”
In the video, released by Franklin Nieves, he urges prosecutors and judges to tell the truth and to stop being afraid. His declaration poses an unexpected turn in this case and it can mean a change for the rest of the sentence if Nieves finds support from his fellow colleagues. Moreover, there are high expectations for the parliamentary elections that will be held on the 6th of December. Hopefully, as a result of these discoveries and international support, Venezuela will be able to initiate a democratic reestablishment where freedom is respected.