Venezuela releases six political prisoners, over 100 still in jail

Venezuela's government has freed a former presidential candidate and several student activists who were jailed during anti-government protests in 2014.

Former opposition candidate Manuel Rosales was released before dawn Saturday along with five other activists, including Gerardo Carrero, who led a group of students that camped for weeks outside the U.N. offices in Caracas to draw attention to a government crackdown on protests blamed for scores of deaths.

The releases come as a two-month-old, Vatican-mediated attempt at dialogue to ease tensions stemming from the country's deep economic and political crisis hangs by a thread over the failure by unpopular President Nicolas Maduro to cede ground to opponents seeking his removal.

"Without a doubt, Venezuela is living a deep social crisis and these releases in some way are an escape valve that takes some pressure, especially international [pressure], off Maduro," said Alfredo Romero, executive director of Foro Penal, a group of lawyers that defends dozens of jailed activists.

"But it's important to remember that in 2016 there were 55 people jailed and only 43 released," he added.

Read more here and here

 

Back