Latin America & Caribbean

Venezuela prosecutor sacked after Lopez trial criticism

Venezuela's attorney general, Luisa Ortega Diaz Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Venezuela's attorney general, Luisa Ortega Diaz, defended her office

Venezuela's attorney general says she has sacked a prosecutor who criticised the conviction and imprisonment of opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez.

She said Franklin Nieves, who fled the country, had abandoned his post.

Luisa Ortega Diaz also denied that officials had been pressured to provide false evidence at Mr Lopez's trial.

On Friday, Mr Nieves posted a video on the internet in which he apologised for his role in what he called a political show trial.

In the video, he said he had left Venezuela to escape pressure from the government.

Mr Nieves urged fellow prosecutors and judges to join him in expressing their discontent.

"Complete farce"

In a television interview, Ms Ortega Diaz rejected the former prosecutor's accusations.

"At the state prosecutors' office we don't pressure anyone," she said.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Lilian Tintori calls for her husband's release

She added that Mr Nieves had given in to "pressures from foreign and domestic elements", but was not specific.

Ms Ortega also rejected that the allegations by Mr Nieves were grounds for overturning the verdict in Mr Lopez's trial.

He was sentenced last month to nearly 14 years in prison on charges of inciting violence during anti-government protests in 2014.

Mr Lopez's wife, Lilian Tintori, repeated her call for his release on Monday.

"It is clear that the case was manipulated, a complete farce," she told a rally in the city of Maracaibo.

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