Wednesday, 2 August 2017 10:28 WIB | GLOBAL |Global
Two Venezuelan opposition leaders who were on house arrest have been seized from their homes by state security forces, two days after a controversial vote creating a national assembly to rewrite the constitution.
The families of Leopoldo Lopez and Antonio Ledezma say the men were taken during the early morning hours Tuesday by agents with the Venezuelan intelligence service Sebin. Both families posted videos on Twitter of the men as they were taken, with Ledezma still wearing pajamas.
Venezuela's Supreme Court said the two leaders were sent back to jail because "official intelligence sources" discovered they were planning to flee. The court also said Lopez and Ledezma violated the terms of their house arrest by "political campaigning" and "making statements to the media."
U.S. Acting Assistant Secretary of State Francisco Palmieri posted on Twitter that the U.S. is concerned about the detention of the men, saying it is "further evidence of the #Maduro regime's authoritarianism."
The two opposition leaders had each posted videos urging their followers to boycott last Sunday's vote to establish the assembly, which opposition forces said was an effort by President Nicolas Maduro to transform Venezuela into an authoritarian state.
Lopez and Ledezma, both of them former mayors, had been under house arrest for various charges. Lopez entered house arrest just weeks ago after spending three-and-a-half years in jail on charges of instigating violence during anti-Maduro street protests in 2014. Ledezma was convicted in 2015 on charges of plotting a coup against Maduro.
The detentions came hours after the United States imposed sanctions on Maduro over what it called his "illegitimate" election of an assembly to rewrite the constitution.
All of Maduro's assets in the U.S. are frozen and Americans are forbidden from doing any business with him.
Source : VOA