Jailed Venezuelan dissident Ceballos ends hunger strike

Jailed former mayor Daniel Ceballos ends a 20-day hunger strike citing health problems and partially met demands from government, say supporters

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Updated Jul 28, 2015

Jailed Venezuela opposition leader Daniel Ceballos has ended his hunger strike on Thursday after 20 days, his wife reported on Twitter. Supporters said the strike had caused weight loss, lethargy and kidney pain.

Ceballos, 31, the former mayor of San Cristobal from the Popular Will Party (VP) has been under arrest since March 2014. He and fellow political prisoner Leopoldo Lopez went on a hunger strike demanding the government release fellow imprisoned political activists and set a date for parliamentary elections at the end of this year.

Ceballos’ attorney Juan Carlos Gutierrez said the demands had been partially met, but did not elaborate. It was also unclear whether Lopez would continue to fast.

Lopez, and Ceballos were arrested after protests broke out in Venezuela in early 2014 during which 43 people died and hundreds were wounded.

The protests were described by Nicolas Maduro’s government as an undemocratic coup d’etat attempt orchestrated by “fascist” opposition leaders and the United States.

Maduro holds the two men responsible for the deaths that occurred in 2014’s unrest, calling them criminals who want to unseat him, and has no plans to order their release, Reuters reports.

Lopez and Ceballos were both being held at the Ramo Verde military prison until May 23, when Ceballos was transferred to a civilian jail in the state of Guarico.

Hours after Ceballos’ wife Patricia de Ceballos announced the end to his hunger strike on Twitter, Venezuelan government ombudsman Tarek William Saab tweeted that Ceballos was being transferred to a different detention facility in Caracas.

In May, Ceballos won a primary in San Cristobal while in prison as the opposition alliance’s candidate in the upcoming legislative elections. He could be freed if he wins in the general election as Venezuelan law offers legislators immunity from persecution during their terms.

TRTWorld and agencies