Header image for news printout

Venezuela: UN Working Group on arbitrary detention demands immediate release of Leopoldo López

GENEVA (18 September 2015) - The Working Group on Arbitrary Detention of the United Nations Human Rights Council urged the Government of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela to proceed with the immediate release of Leopoldo López.

Mr. Lopez, National Coordinator of the political party Voluntad Popular, was sentenced on 10 September 2015 by a provisional Judge to 13 years, nine months, seven days and twelve hours in prison for allegedly committing crimes of public incitement, conspiracy, damaging public property and arson.

“The sentence was issued after a 19-month long trial conducted behind closed doors and marked by serious irregularities, when the due process and fair trial were not respected; the basis of the allegations were not published; the accused was not allowed to exercise his right to an adequate defence and the exculpatory evidence he offered was not accepted,” affirmed Mr. Seong-Phil Hong, the Chair-Rapporteur of the Working Group.

The Working Group reiterated its request to the Government of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela to give due consideration to its Opinion No. 26/2014 recommending the immediate release of Mr. Leopoldo López, and granting him full redress, including moral and material compensation, as well as measures of satisfaction, such as a public statement of apology.

The Working Group also urged the Government of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela to consider its request to visit the country in order to contribute to strengthening the rule of law by respecting the independence of the judiciary; judicial guarantees; due process and the effective punishment of those responsible for arbitrary arrests.

(*) See the Working Group’s Opinion on Mr. López’s case (A/HRC/WGAD/2014/26): http://ap.ohchr.org/documents/dpage_e.aspx?m=117

Mr. Seong-Phil Hong (Republic of Korea) is the Chairman-Rapporteur of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention. Other members of the Working Group are Ms. Leigh Toomey (Australia); Mr. José Antonio Guevara Bermúdez (Mexico); Mr. Roland Adjovi Sètondji (Benin) and Mr. Vladimir Tochilovsky (Ukraine). Learn more, log on to:  http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/Detention/Pages/WGADIndex.aspx

The Special Rapporteurs and Working Groups are part of what is known as the Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council. Special Procedures, the largest body of independent experts in the UN Human Rights system, is the general name of the Council’s independent fact-finding and monitoring mechanisms that address either specific country situations or thematic issues in all parts of the world. Special Procedures’ experts work on a voluntary basis; they are not UN staff and do not receive a salary for their work. They are independent from any government or organization and serve in their individual capacity.

UN Human Rights, Country Page – Venezuela: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Countries/LACRegion/Pages/VEIndex.aspx

For more information and media requests, please contact Mr. Miguel de la Lama (+ 41 22 917 9289 / mdelalama@ohchr.org).

For media inquiries related to other UN independent experts:
Xabier Celaya, UN Human Rights – Media Unit (+ 41 22 917 9383 / xcelaya@ohchr.org)  

UN Human Rights, follow us on social media:
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/unitednationshumanrights  
Twitter:
http://twitter.com/UNrightswire   
Google+ gplus.to/unitednationshumanrights   
YouTube:
http://www.youtube.com/UNOHCHR  

Check the Universal Human Rights Index: http://uhri.ohchr.org/en