HRW considers Lopez prison exit “sign” of protest impact

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Venezuelan opponent Leopoldo López greets supporters today, Saturday July 8, 2017, at the entrance of his house in Caracas (Venezuela). EFE

Human Rights Watch (HRW) today applauded the release of Venezuelan opposition leader Leopoldo López and considered the measure of house arrest granted to him as a “sign” of the impact of street protests.

“It’s a sign that mass street protests – along with pronouncements by Latin American democratic leaders to stop repression – are having an impact,” HRW Americas director José Miguel Vivanco said in a statement.

Although López “is not free,” Vivanco stressed that the measure granted to the opposition on Saturday by the Venezuelan Supreme Court is a “notable capitulation” of a government that “only a few days allowed armed thugs to attack the National Assembly and strike To legislators in broad daylight. ”

HRW, which is based in New York, found that López is under house arrest after spending more than three years in prison and recalled that “hundreds of other political prisoners remain behind bars” in the South American country.

“Leaders at the global level must increase the pressure to unconditionally release all political prisoners and restore democratic order in Venezuela,” said Vivanco.

Lopez, imprisoned since 2014 and sentenced to nearly 14 years in prison for instigating violence, among other crimes, was released this morning from the Ramo Verde military prison and placed under house arrest.

The measure was due to “health problems” of the politician, according to Venezuela’s Supreme Court of Justice (TSJ), but his relatives said he is in good health.

Since April 1, Venezuela has witnessed a wave of protests that have degenerated into acts of violence, with 91 dead and about 1,500 injured, according to the prosecutor’s office.

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