News / Americas

Trial Imminent for Detained Venezuelan Protest Leader Lopez

Lilian Tintori, wife of jailed opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez, speaks during a rally against Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro's government and in support of Lopez, in Caracas, Venezuela, June 8, 2014.
Lilian Tintori, wife of jailed opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez, speaks during a rally against Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro's government and in support of Lopez, in Caracas, Venezuela, June 8, 2014.
VOA News

As jailed Venezuelan opposition member Leopoldo Lopez prepares to go on trial Wednesday in Caracas for his role in protests earlier this year, his wife appealed to the international community for his release.

Speaking Monday at the National Press Club in Washington, Lilian Tintori told VOA the case against Lopez, who has been detained since February, needs outside pressure on Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, who has been repeatedly accused of human rights violations against his opponents.

"Leopoldo Lopez represents a nation-wide sentiment in Venezuela. There are millions of us who want a change," said  Tintori. "We want to make Leopoldo's case known everywhere in the world. And from here [in Washington] to demand that Maduro free Leopoldo."

Lopez, 43, founder of opposition party Popular Will, is charged with public incitement, property damage and criminal conspiracy following opposition-led protests that turned deadly when state forces violently clashed with demonstrators, killing dozens of people. He could face a decade in prison if convicted.

Lopez's human rights attorney, Jared Genser, also spoke in Washington, calling the trial "a joke."

"Given the lack of judicial independence and the weight of political pressure being placed on judges and in this case, yet another temporary judge who isn't even permanently appointed to the position, we have no confidence that Leopoldo will receive a fair hearing," said Genser.

A warrant for Lopez's arrest was issued in February. Shortly after he surrendered to Venezuelan authorities, Amnesty International came to the defense of the U.S.-educated former mayor of a Caracas municipality.

A statement from the human rights organization said the charges against Lopez "smack of a politically motivated attempt to silence dissent in the country."

In an interview with VOA in Caracas, Lopez's attorney said the trial could take months. His legal team is going by the books, Tintori said, but that isn't enough in Venezuela right now.

"We believe everything should be done according to due process, and that is what we've been doing. But we're facing, as you know, justice that is unjust in Venezuela," said Tintori.

Late Monday, Tintori announced that her husband had been released from isolation after two months of what she called "extreme psychological torture" in which he had been denied visitors.

The youngest of the couple's two children learned to walk in his father's cell before jail officials limited his family's access, Tintori told VOA.

"I promise my son Leopoldo Santiago that he's going to walk alongside his dad, and he's going to see Venezuela transform," she said.

VOA's Latin American service contributed to this report.

You May Like

Missouri Town Braces for Possible Racial Unrest

Situation in Ferguson hinges on whether white police officer will be indicted for August shooting death of unarmed black teen; decision could come Monday More

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of 1930s Deadly Famine

President Poroshenko compares Soviet-era ‘genocide’ to current tactics of pro-Russia rebels in Ukraine's east More

S. Philippines Convictions Elusive 5 Years After Election-related Killings

Officials vowed to deliver justice as the nation marked the anniversary of the country's worst political massacre that left 58 dead, more than half media More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Faminei
X
Daniel Schearf
November 23, 2014 4:32 PM
During a commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. VOA’s Daniel Shearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Famine

During a commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. VOA’s Daniel Shearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests at a Crossroads

New public opinion polls in Hong Kong indicate declining support for pro-democracy demonstrations after weeks of street protests. VOA’s Bill Ide in Guangzhou and Pros Laput in Hong Kong spoke with protesters and observers about whether demonstrators have been too aggressive in pushing for change.
Video

Video Law Enforcement, Activists in Ferguson Agree to Keep Peace

Authorities in Ferguson, Missouri, say they have agreed with protest leaders to maintain peace when a grand jury reaches its decision on whether to indict a white police officer in the shooting death of a black teenager. Ferguson, a suburb of St. Louis, has been the scene of intermittent violence since the August 9 shooting intensified long-simmering antagonism between the police and the African-American community. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video US Immigration Relief Imminent for Mixed-Status Families

Tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants in the Washington, D.C., area may benefit from a controversial presidential order announced this week. It's not a path to citizenship, as some activists hoped. But it will allow more immigrants who arrived as children or who have citizen children, to avoid deportation and work legally. VOA's Victoria Macchi talks with one young man who benefited from an earlier presidential order, and whose parents may now benefit after years of living in fear.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Gay Evangelicals Argue That Bible Does Not Condemn Homosexuality

More than 30 U.S. states now recognize same-sex marriages, and an increasing number of mainline American churches are blessing them. But evangelical church members- which account for around 30 percent of the U.S. adult population - believe the Bible unequivocally condemns homosexuality. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender evangelicals are coming out. Backed by a prominent evangelical scholar, they argue that the traditional reading of the bible is wrong.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid

More Americas News

Video Obama's Immigration Moves Debated on TV Talk Shows

President urges Republicans to pass legislation if they dislike executive orders he issued to address status of millions of illegals in US
More

Vazquez Is Favorite to Win Uruguay Presidential Vote

Leftist ruling party candidate buoyed by widespread affection for country's outgoing leader, strong economic growth
More

Brazil's Rousseff Struggles to Limit Petrobras Scandal's Damage

President expects bribery scandal at state-run oil company to deteriorate in coming months, aides say, with arrests possible for some political allies
More

Mexico, Central America Hail Obama's Immigration Reform

Mexican leader calls US president's proposals 'most important measures taken in several decades'
More

Torturers of Chilean President's Father Sentenced to Jail

Judge sentences 2 retired colonels to prison for committing 'crime of torture resulting in the death' of Alberto Bachelet Martinez during early days of Pinochet dictatorship
More

NYC Immigrant Advocates Praise Obama Move, Vow to Continue Fight

Threatened refusal by Republican congressional leaders to cooperate will backfire politically, attorney insists
More