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Venezuela releases ex-general jailed on charges of inciting unrest

Monday, May 20th 2013 - 07:02 UTC
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Opposition leaders and human rights activists consider Rivero a “political prisoner” Opposition leaders and human rights activists consider Rivero a “political prisoner”

Venezuelan authorities have released a dissent ex-general who was jailed on charges of inciting unrest after the country’s disputed presidential election. Retired General Antonio Rivero, who is also a member of the opposition movement Popular Will, said he would “take care of my health” as he was freed late Friday.

Opposition leaders said he was hospitalized with a respiratory infection and digestive problems following a 16-day hunger strike he undertook to protest his arrest.

Rivero remains accused of instigating violent protests following the April 14 presidential election, which the government says left at least nine people dead and dozens injured.

Opposition leaders say the charges are part of a crackdown on dissents after the narrow election win of Nicolás Maduro, the late Hugo Chávez’s hand-picked successor. They refuse to accept the result, accusing Maduro’s side of fraud and voter intimidation.

Popular Will coordinator Leopoldo López confirmed on Twitter that Rivero was hospitalized in a Caracas clinic.

“I am with Antonio Rivero at the hospital, he has a respiratory infection and digestive problems following his hunger strike,” López tweeted. “Over the coming days he will release a statement with details about his arrest and what the next steps will be,” López said. He also tweeted a photo of a gaunt-looking Rivero lying on a hospital bed and wearing a face mask.

Opposition leaders and human rights activists had asked the government to release Rivero saying he was a “political prisoner” after being detained in a secrete police facility since April 27.

Venezuela’s General Prosecutor’s Office has said the retired general was arrested for his “connection to recent violent unrest in the country.” Government officials claim that the violence following the April 14 presidential election in Caracas and throughout the country, in which nine people died and 78 were injured, was fuelled by opposition members.
 

Categories: Politics, Venezuela.

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