Crime & Justice

Venezuelan high court asks Spain to extradite Leopoldo Lopez

Caracas, May 11 (EFE).- Venezuela’s Supreme Court (TSJ) on Tuesday reported that it asked Spain to extradite opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez, who fled the South American country clandestinely in late October 2020 by crossing the border into Colombia.

“The Criminal Chamber of the Supreme Court of Justice ruled that it was appropriate to request of the Kingdom of Spain the extradition of citizen Leopoldo Eduardo Lopez Mendoza, to faithfully fulfill the rest of his sentence in Venezuelan territory,” the high court said in a statement.

According to the text of the TSJ statement, the sentence Lopez must serve is for “eight years, six months, 25 days and 12 hours” for the crimes of “arson … damage … public instigation and (criminal) association.”

The TSJ said that it sent to the Venezuelan Foreign Ministry a certified copy of the sentence and the “actions it is taking in the matter,” without adding further details.

On Oct. 24, it became known that Lopez had fled Venezuela en route to Madrid after spending 18 months in the residence of the Spanish ambassador in Caracas, where he was housed as a guest while the local judiciary was demanding his apprehension and the Chavista government of Nicolas Maduro was accusing him of terrorism.

Lopez entered the Spanish envoy’s residence after on April 30, 2019, he left house arrest to join an attempted military uprising headed by fellow opposition leader Juan Guaido.

After arriving in Madrid, Lopez was welcomed by Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez at the headquarters of the Spanish Socialist Party (PSOE), a meeting that was broadcast by the party on the social networks with the message “The PSOE wants a peaceful way” out of the Venezuelan crisis, “because the suffering of the Venezuelan people must be (held to) a minimum.”

Sanchez’s meeting with Lopez was not looked on favorably by Maduro, who at the time said that the Spanish premier was “always” making “mistakes” regarding Venezuela.

Before taking refuge in the Spanish Embassy and then later fleeing Venezuela, Lopez since September 2015 had been serving a sentence in a military jail in Caracas after being accused of fomenting the riots at the end of an anti-government march in 2014 in which three people died.

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