Friday, 10 Jul 2020

Venezuela releases Guaidó deputy from detention

The deputy of Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaidó has been released from prison.

Edgar Zambrano was detained in May on treason charges for supporting a failed uprising on 30 April organised by Mr Guaidó.

Mr Guaidó is recognised as an “interim president” by more than 50 nations.

The move comes a day after President Nicolás Maduro reached a deal with small opposition parties aiming to heal political divisions in the country.

Venezuela’s Prosecutor General Tarek William Saab said the government petitioned the Supreme Court to release Mr Zambrano on Tuesday “following partial agreements reached by the Venezuelan government and sectors of the national opposition”.

He also promised to review the cases of all opposition activists currently in detention.

Timoteo Zambrano, an opposition lawmaker unrelated to Edgar Zambrano, wrote on Twitter: “The process of freeing political prisoners has begun. We celebrate the freedom of our colleague, the deputy Edgar Zambrano.”

In April, Mr Guaidó led an uprising with around 30 members of the armed forces. He claims that Mr Maduro’s re-election last year was illegitimate and has since declared himself Venezuela’s acting leader.

In a video message recorded near an air force base in Caracas, he called on the military to help him oust President Maduro.

Mr Zambrano was one of the lawmakers seen in later footage talking to Mr Guaidó near the air force base.

Head of the National Constituent Assembly Diosdado Cabello said it was “enough to prove his involvement”.

The uprising fizzled out after two days.

Mr Zambrano was one of 15 lawmakers arrested in a crackdown on those allegedly involved in the uprising.

He was in his car when he was surrounded by intelligence service agents. Refusing to get out of the vehicle, Mr Zambrano and his car were towed to prison.

His arrest was criticised by the US, branding it “illegal and inexcusable”. While the EU described his detention as a “politically motivated action aimed at silencing the National Assembly.”

Mr Maduro is under increasing international pressure over alleged human rights allegations.

The US has sanctioned Mr Maduro and many of his allies.

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