Venezuela's opposition mayor faces conspiracy charges

Venezuela's public prosecutor says opposition leader, former mayor of Caracas Antonio Ledezma to face trial for conspiring to destabilise the country through violence

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

A supporter of Caracas metropolitan mayor Antonio Ledezma holds up a cutout of his face during a gathering outside the offices of the Venezuela's rights ombudsman in Caracas, January 18, 2016

Former Caracas mayor Antonio Ledezma is to go on trial to face charges of conspiring to destabilise the country through violence, according to a statement on Monday night from Venezuela's public prosecutor.

Detained a year ago, opposition politician Ledezma, 60, is seen by his supporters as a scapegoat for President Nicolas Maduro as the OPEC country suffers a brutal economic crisis.

Ledezma's wife, Mitzy de Ledezma, wrote on Twitter that prosecutors were seeking a sentence of 16 years.

Ledezma, a hard-line opposition leader whom Maduro supporters mock as "The Vampire," was initially held at the Ramo Verde military prison outside Caracas, where opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez is also kept.

He was allowed out of jail in April for a hernia operation and placed under house arrest.

Lopez was jailed in September for nearly 14 years on charges of inciting 2014 anti-government protests that spiralled into violence killing more than 40 people.

"Today they seek to condemn another innocent man," said Lopez' wife Lilian Tintori on Twitter.

TRTWorld, Reuters