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Venezuela Asked to Probe Allegations of Leopoldo López’s Torture


FILE - Lilian Tintori, wife of jailed Venezuelan opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez, stands near a poster depicting him at the Popular Will party's office in Caracas, Venezuela, Jan. 18, 2017.

A rights group and the wife of Venezuelan opposition leader Leopoldo López are demanding that Venezuelan authorities investigate allegations that he is being tortured in a military prison.

On Saturday, Amnesty International released a statement asking that authorities cease "any act that endangers [his] physical and psychological integrity" and his life. The statement noted the "special gravity" of López’s case, saying he had been isolated for roughly three weeks and denied access to visits by relatives.

López, a leader of the Popular Will party and former mayor of Caracas’ Chacao district, is serving a 13-year sentence in Ramo Verde military prison for allegedly inciting violence in a 2014 anti-government march that left 43 people dead. The United Nations, numerous rights groups and international leaders including U.S. President Donald Trump have identified him as a political prisoner and called for his release.

López reportedly shouted from inside the military prison that he was being tortured, according to a video released Friday by his wife, activist Lilian Tintori. In the video recorded from outside the prison, a man is heard shouting, "Lilian, I am being tortured. Denounce!"

Ultimas Noticias, a newspaper aligned with socialist President Nicolás Maduro, on Saturday published photographs showing Lopez receiving medical attention and a bag of food.

On Sunday, Tintori said she had not been able to meet with her husband since early June. She accused authorities of manipulating or falsifying the photos, saying they were taken three months ago, based on his haircut and clothing.

"They didn’t let me in … to see Leopold and to see his state. I still don’t know anything about him," she said in Spanish to reporters, in a video posted on Facebook.

As of Sunday, Maduro’s administration had not responded to the torture allegations.

In early May, López was rumored to have died, and the government released a “proof of life” video.

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