Venezuela frees four jailed Maduro opponents

On Tuesday, Venezuela freed four opponents of President Nicolas Maduro, but activists demanded the immediate liberation of more than 100 others they say are also unjustly imprisoned.

“I’m so happy after living through these storms,” one of the four, bank messenger Gilberto Sojo, told Reuters ecstatically after his release overnight, surrounded by friends and family.

Sojo and the other three were arrested in 2014 and 2015 on various accusations of fomenting violence and plotting against the socialist government. They were among the lesser-known Maduro opponents jailed since he won an election to replace Hugo Chavez in 2013.

Critics say Maduro has turned Venezuela into a dictatorship, far surpassing his predecessor Chavez in political repression.

Jesus Torrealba, head of the opposition coalition, said his happiness at Tuesday's release of the prisoners was mixed with anger over the continued jailing of others. “All the political prisoners are innocent: they all deserve freedom,” he said.

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