FREE LOPEZ: One year anniversary of Leopoldo Lopez's arrest sees only worsening conditions for political prisoners.
Today (18 February 2015) marks one year since the arrest and imprisonment of opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez, whose treatment at the hands of the Maduro regime has only worsened as he is increasingly subject to physical and psychological harassment.
MEP Dita CHARANZOVÁ stated that "The first step for Venezuela to return towards a functioning democratic society is to free all political prisoners".
"The European Parliament could not accept the actions of the Maduro government two months ago when we voted in favour of a resolution condemning the treatment of the peaceful democratic opposition," Dita CHARANZOVÁ explained. "The situation has since sadly only deteriorated further to such an extent that prisoners such as Lopez face increasingly inhumane conditions and are denied their most basic rights."
"The fact that Leopoldo Lopez still sits in prison is in and of itself a violation of human rights." Ms CHARANZOVÁ continued "Maduro is isolating himself from the will and needs of his people. The failed regime, instead of addressing citizen's needs, is obsessed with hiding its failures by ruthlessly tightening its grip on the democratic opposition- both outside and within its prison walls."
Ms CHARANZOVÁ co-authored a resolution calling on the Venezuelan government to stop persecuting opposition in December 2014. Leopoldo Lopez is accused of inciting violence during anti-government protests, though denies all charges. Last week Lopez was abruptly awakened in the night by armed and hooded security guards who destroyed his belongings in his cell, including family photographs. He has since been sent indefinitely to a 'punishment cell' in the military prison Ramo Verde, deprived of family visits and any communication.