Venezuela: Prosecutor General requests 18 arrest warrants after failed coup
Caracas [Venezuela], May 4 (ANI): Venezuela’s Prosecutor General, Tarek William Saab, is seeking 18 arrest warrants in connection with the recent failed attempt by the Opposition to oust President Nicolas Maduro.
“We have requested 18 arrest warrants for civilians and military involved in the conspiracy. Seventeen searches have been carried out and evidence was collected that led us to a larger group of people. Many of those detained are now giving testimony,” Sputnik quoted a statement issued by Saab’s office as saying. Amongst others, the Prosecutor General is holding Opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez responsible for the coup attempt on April 30.
Lopez claims he was freed from house arrest by the military during the coup attempt, after which the politician and his family took refuge in the Chilean embassy in the Venezuelan capital before shifting to the Spanish embassy.
“One of those responsible (for the coup attempt) fled to the Chilean embassy, but he was expelled from there. Then he fled to the Spanish embassy, but he is not a guest there. Mr Leopoldo Lopez is a coward,” the Venezuelan official added.
The Spanish government said that it has “no intention” of surrendering Lopez, even after a court in Caracas issued a warrant for the politician’s arrest. The court claimed that Lopez “flagrantly” violated his home detention, adding that he should continue serving his 13-year sentence imposed in 2014.
Three prosecutors have been appointed to investigate Tuesday’s events, Saab also stated.
On April 30, opposition leader Juan Guaido declared he was “beginning the final phase of Operation Freedom,” in an apparent bid to oust Maduro. His call led to protesters collecting at the La Carlota military airbase, where a confrontation between the opposition leader’s supporters and Maduro’s supporters took place, according to CNN.
At least 71 people were injured due to the clashes, out of which 42 were wounded with rubber bullets while two were treated for gunshot wounds at the Salud Chacao Medical Center in Caracas, as per the hospital’s president. The country’s Minister of Defence, Vladimir Padrino, said that a military colonel was also shot during the showdown.
The Latin American country has been rocked by a political crisis, which was accelerated after Guaido declared himself as the President of the nation in January.
The United States immediately extended its support to the opposition leader, calling on other countries to do the same. Furthermore, Washington also issued multiple sanctions against Venezuela, in a bid to stifle economic support to the government which continues to be headed by Maduro.
While Maduro continues to hold on to his post, repeated sanctions by the United States have reportedly exacerbated the humanitarian crisis in Venezuela. (ANI)