September 11, 2015
A Venezuelan judge found opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez guilty of public incitement to violence and criminal association. A Venezuelan court has sentenced opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez to over 13 years and nine months in prison. Lopez was accused of public incitement to violence and association to commit crimes.
The public prosecutor based its charges on over 700 messages sent via Lopez’s Twitter account around the time of the protests.
More than 40 people were killed in Venezuela during the violent barricades and hundreds more were injured last year, in what Lopez called “The Exit”. The violence was aimed at ousting democratically-elected President Nicolas Maduro.
In all his tweets – except for one – prosecutors argued he implicitly promoted violence as well as the lack of recognition of Venezuelan authorities. They requested a 14-year jail sentence.
Immediately after the hearing, Lopez’s defense lawyers announced they would be appealing the ruling. They gave no further details.
Last night Lopez and his wife Lilian Tintori released a video that argued, with scarce evidence, that Lopez had called for “no violence” and that security authorities had provoked it.
The trial ended as Lopez spent his 18th month in prison. The trial had been delayed by various legal tactics and appeal mechanisms used by Lopez’s defense team.
Lopez’s aggressive strategies have been controversial even from within the opposition, leading to his partial isolation, as most moderate opposition sectors prefer not to be associated with his hardline tactics.