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
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