Leopoldo Lopez has been granted house arrest after more than three years in jail. (AP: Ariana Cubillos)
Venezuela’s best-known jailed opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez has been granted home detention due to health problems after more than three years in prison, the country’s Supreme Court has said.
- Jailed in 2014 for leading anti-government protests against President Nicolas Maduro
- Was involved in a 2002 coup against former leader Hugo Chavez
- Venezuela to hold an election for a constitutional assembly on July 30
Mr Lopez, 46, was jailed in 2014 for his role in leading months of anti-government protests against President Nicolas Maduro.
Maikel Moreno, the Supreme Court President, allowed the “humanitarian measure that is in compliance with the law”, the court tweeted.
Opposition leaders and human rights activists around the world had for years condemned Mr Lopez’s imprisonment after what they called a sham trial on cooked-up charges.
“We are thrilled that Leopoldo Lopez is at home with his family,” fellow opposition leader Henrique Capriles said, referring to the several hundred other jailed activists.
“They should give full freedom to him and all the political prisoners.”
The opposition has long called Mr Lopez a political prisoner and leaders around the world have pressed for his release, including US President Donald Trump.
Mr Maduro, who for years refused to pardon Mr Lopez, has described him as a dangerous terrorist who sought to overthrow him through street violence.
Government supporters also often raise Mr Lopez’s role in a short-lived 2002 coup against former leader Hugo Chavez when he helped arrest a minister.
The South American OPEC nation has again been convulsed by street protests this year as the opposition demands early elections and a resolution of a crippling economic crisis.
On July 30, at Mr Maduro’s behest, Venezuela will hold an election for a constitutional assembly that will be able to dissolve state institutions and rewrite the constitution.
The opposition is vowing to boycott the vote, which they say is rigged and is designed to help entrench Mr Maduro in power.