August 1, 2021

The Venezuelan Parliament celebrates Saleh's freedom and asks to release other prisoners

The Venezuelan Parliament celebrates Saleh's freedom and asks to release other prisoners

The Venezuelan parliament, with an opposition majority, today celebrated the release of former student leader Lorent Saleh, who had been in custody since September 2014, and called for the release of the rest of those considered "political prisoners."

"We celebrate the freedom of @LORENT_SALEH who was kidnapped by the Government, we demand the freedom of @JuanRequesens (deputy arrested for being allegedly involved in the attack on President Nicolás Maduro on August 4) and the rest of the #political prisoners", says a message on the Parliament's Twitter account.

The Venezuelan government reported yesterday of the release of Saleh and its shipment to Spain as part of a reconciliation plan promoted by the Executive of Nicolás Maduro.

According to a statement released by the state channel VTV, the Truth Commission created by the ruling National Constituent Assembly (ANC) recommended releasing the 30-year-old opponent for the risk of suicide.

The text stressed that Saleh "was deprived of liberty for his participation in the commission of crimes against the constitutional order in the context of serious actions aimed at generating violence, destabilization and alteration of peace."

Specifically in 2011, he was accused of "spreading false information causing anguish", after being arrested with slingshots and other materials used in protests, but he escaped outside of Venezuela.

He was arrested in Colombia and deported to Venezuela by decision of President Juan Manuel Santos in 2014 and on his arrival he was accused of three other crimes.

The mother of the opponent, Yamileth Saleh, could not see him before he was sent to Spain despite the fact that before the rumors that he would be released he went to the doors of the Bolivarian Intelligence Service (Sebin) in Caracas to await the departure of his son.

The opponent, who was awarded in 2017 with the Sakharov Prize awarded by the European Parliament, arrived today in Madrid accompanied by the Spanish Secretary of State for Cooperation and for Ibero-America and the Caribbean, Juan Pablo de Laiglesia.

Upon his arrival he acknowledged that he thought of committing suicide on several occasions because it was "the only defense mechanism" that he had available to do "in the face of years of torture."

Different opposition leaders have celebrated the release of Saleh, but have indicated that he was "banished".

"Lorent Saleh was released, but he was also banished, we are happy for Lorent, who will no longer be in jail receiving inhuman treatment, but we denounce that he was forced to leave his country," Lilian Tintori, wife of the Opposition leader in house arrest Leopoldo López.

In the same vein, the deputy Delsa Solórzano has said that "the exile" of Saleh "violates Article 50 of the Constitution.No Venezuelan can be imposed the penalty of estrangement from the national territory."

According to the Venezuelan opposition there are 400 "political prisoners" of which 160 are military, although the NGO Penal Forum says there are more than 200.


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