Venezuela ends house arrest of Judge Maria Afiuni

Maria Lourdes Afiuni waves outside her home in Caracas (14 June 2013) Maria Lourdes Afiuni is banned from leaving the country or speaking to reporters

Related Stories

The Venezuelan authorities have ended the house arrest of a judge held on corruption charges since 2009.

A lawyer for Maria Lourdes Afiuni said a court in Caracas rescinded the detention order on health grounds after a request from the attorney general.

The 50-year-old judge has reportedly been suffering kidney problems.

She has been on trial since November for corruption, abuse of authority and aiding an inmate's escape, but has dismissed proceedings as rigged.

Opposition leaders consider her to be Venezuela's highest-profile political prisoner, while human rights groups and international organisations have called her detention arbitrary and demanded her release.

Ms Afiuni was arrested on the day she authorised the conditional release of banker Eligio Cedeno who had spent almost three years in prison awaiting trial - a year longer than Venezuelan law generally permitted. Mr Cedeno later fled the country.

The day after the judge's arrest, President Hugo Chavez publicly called her a "bandit" who should be sentenced to 30 years in prison.

She was subsequently placed in pre-trial detention for more than a year in a prison, where her lawyer said she was the victim of sexual violence.

In February 2011, Ms Afiuni was granted house arrest in Caracas because of the serious medical conditions she was suffering.

To comply with the conditions of her release, she must report to the court in the capital every 15 days and is banned from leaving the country without permission or speaking to the media.

More on This Story

Related Stories

More Latin America & Caribbean stories

RSS

Features & Analysis

  • Three santa hatsChristmas again

    The town where it's celebrated three times a year


  • Anastasia Romanovna KrandievskayaShips in the night

    The Russian beauty who rebuffed a British writer as chaos loomed


  • The house where Hitler was bornHouse of Hitler

    Vacant birthplace of Nazi leader gives Austria a headache


  • Uber app and Taxi rankUber wars

    Battles over cheap taxis and other big ideas from 2014


Elsewhere on the BBC

  • Relax in a hammockTime to retire?

    With enough dedication, you could say goodbye to your full-time job years sooner than you think

Programmes

  • Stephen Sackur with Status Quo's Francis RossiHARDtalk Watch

    Watch extracts of some of Stephen Sackur's best interviews from 2014

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.