Yesterday, Venezuelan opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez ’93 was sentenced to serve 13 years and 9 months in prison for charges of conspiracy, incitement to commit crimes, arson, and damage to public property. He has been confined to a military prison since February. Lopez’s lawyer, Jared Genser, reacted,
My client’s conviction is a tragic day for Venezuela and really a conviction of President Nicolás Maduro. For only in an authoritarian regime does an opposition leader get a maximum prison sentence on completely false charges for exercising his rights to freedom of expression, opinion, and association. Leopoldo is completely innocent and should be released immediately.
The US Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs Roberta Jacobson also criticized the sentencing, saying she was “deeply concerned” and called for the Venezuelan government to “protect democracy.”
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