Panama against opposition leaders taken from their homes

Security cameras recorded the moment Leopoldo López was taken out of his home
  • EFE

The president of Panama Juan Carlos Varela expressed his “total rejection and condemnation” to the Venezuelan government's decision to return the opposition leaders Leopoldo López and Antonio Ledezma to prison. The pair were under house arrest for their political activities.

With these actions, the president of Venezuela Nicolás Maduro “insist on the confrontation”, the Panamanian leader added on his Twitter account.

In the last days, the country of the isthmus has been pronounced on several occasions against the arbitrariness of the madurista regime. Last Sunday, Varela accused Maduro of having preferred the confrontation when carrying out the votes for a Constituent Assembly, in order to change the constitution and to renew the public powers in that country.

Furthermore, the results of the vote were unknown by the Panamanian government for having been a corrupt process.

After 24 hours that the government pressed ahead with elections for a powerful new legislative organ Sunday, branded as fraudulent by the opposition and the international community, Ledezma and López were dragged from their homes by intelligence services (SEBIN, in Spanish), violating private property and without court order.

Lopez spent three and a half years in Ramo Verde prison after the government ordered his transfer to house arrest, where just stayed for 24 days. He was arrested in October 2014, for having called that year a series of anti-government protests titled "The exit".

Ledezma was detained on Febrary 19, 2015, accused of being involved in the alleged “Operation Jericho”, intended to overthrow the Venezuelan government, according to Maduro. He has been at his home in the last two years and four months.

Both men had been sent back to prison for violating the conditions of their house arrest, which restricted political declarations and messages, the Supreme Court of Justice said after 12 hours of the detentions of the leaders. Also for trying to escape, according to the Justice body.

International rejection

Several leaders and international organizations were quick to express their rejection of the new decision taken by Maduro's government. The Secretary General of the Organization of American States Luis Almagro said that this "shows fear and weakness of the regime to the demand of democracy".

Read here the OAS press release

The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein, has also stepped up and called for the "immediate release" of all detainees in Venezuela for exercising their fundamental freedoms, including Ledezma and López. "I am deeply concerned that the opposition leaders Leopoldo López and Antonio Ledezma were again placed in the custody of the Venezuelan authorities after the revocation of their house arrest," he said.


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