Who's telling the truth in Leopoldo Lopez' case?

A prosecutor who fled to the United States said an official told him that the leader of Venezuela had ordered the arrests of several dissidents, including the opposition politician Leopoldo López. On the other hand Venezuelan National Assembly head Diosdado Cabello says Nieves was bribed.

A Venezuelan prosecutor who fled to the United States said this week that an official told him that President Nicolás Maduro had personally ordered the arrest of Leopoldo López, a prominent opposition politician who was detained for his role in antigovernment protests and later sentenced to more than 13 years in prison.

The prosecutor, Franklin Nieves, made further allegations against the Maduro government during an interview on Tuesday night on CNN en Español, the network’s Spanish language station.

Mr. Nieves had helped prosecute Mr. López but fled with his family to the United States last week. He then posted a video online calling the case a farce, saying that he was pressured by higher-ups to use false evidence. He also promised to make other revelations.

But National Assembly head Diosdado Cabello also alleged that Mr Nieves - who has left the country - had been bribed. Luisa Ortega, sacked Mr Nieves early this week and said he had acted contrary to his oath of office.

Mr Cabello, whom Mr Nieves named as the main man behind Mr Lopez's alleged sham trial, said the former prosecutor had been bribed to make the claims.

"Franklin Nieves [is] a thug to whom they offered $850,000," he said, speaking on his weekly television show on Wednesday.

He also said that Mr Lopez had got off lightly with his sentence of 13 years and nine months in prison.

Mr Cabello argues that the opposition leader should not have stood trial for inciting violence but for murder.

He blames Mr Lopez for the deaths of 43 people who died in months of anti-government protests in early 2014.

Mr Lopez has always maintained his innocence and is currently appealing against his sentence.

BBC News
New York Times

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