Venezuela denies pressure in opposition leader's trial

Venezuela's attorney general denies claims that her office pressured officials to use false evidence in trial of opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Venezuela's Attorney General Luisa Ortega Diaz (R) receives a document from a group of United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) lawmakers at her office in Caracas

Venezuela's Attorney General Luisa Ortega Diaz on Monday denied a prosecutor's claims that her office pressured prosecutors to used forged evidence in the trial of opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez.

In a video released on Friday, Franklin Nieves, one of the prosecutors in the trial, claimed that Lopez was convicted on false evidence the prosecutors were made to use under pressure.

Leopoldo Lopez was sentenced to more than 13 years in prison in September on charges stemming from his role in protests in 2014 and inciting violence.

Nieves called the trial a "farce" and fled the country, claiming that his trial had been subject to pressure from President Eduardo Maduro's administration.

In a television interview Ortega Diaz said, "At the State Prosecutors' Office we don't pressure anyone.”

She added that Nieves "allowed himself to be pressured. He gave in to pressures from foreign and domestic elements."

Nieves’ testimony has raised hopes among opposition leader Lopez’s supporters that his guilty vedict could be nullified.

However, Ortega said that the testimony by itself is not grounds for overturning the verdict.

Forty-three people died in clashes between Venezuelan government forces and demonstraters who were portesting against the government for a wide variety of issues, including including high prices and violence in the country.

While Lopez has said the protests were peaceful resistance, President Nicolas Maduro accused Lopez of trying to overthrow him from office.

TRTWorld and agencies