July 21, 2014 (part 2)

Wife of Venezuela's most prominent political prisoner speaks out at National Press Club

Calls on Maduro to free Leopoldo López and other political prisoners, urges international community to act.

WASHINGTON, DC - Lilian Tintori, the wife of Venezuelan opposition leader and political prisoner Leopoldo López, today challenged President Nicolás Maduro to release her husband and more than 100 other political prisoners, given the government's failure to produce evidence or respect their human rights. Tintori, along with Leopoldo's mother, father and two sisters, appeared at the National Press Club as part of an ongoing international tour that has included stops in Latin America and Europe.

"No one in the world should doubt why Leopoldo is in prison. President Maduro is afraid of him," said Tintori. "My husband needs the support of all countries around the world that stand for freedom. We need a clear message sent to President Maduro and the Government of Venezuela that it cannot trample on the rights of its people with impunity."

Tintori was joined by Lopéz's international human rights lawyer Jared Genser, who released a white paper documenting numerous violations of legal due process and human rights that have been committed before and since Lopéz's arrest on February 19, 2014.

"After an exhaustive review of the government's case and actions against Mr. Lopéz, this is as clear cut a case of political injustice you will find anywhere in the world," said Genser. "The prosecution and judiciary has acted on the direct orders of the political leadership; they have presented no evidence against Mr. Lopéz; they have not allowed eyewitnesses to speak and they have rejected numerous items of evidence including video proving Mr. Lopéz's innocence; there has not been even the pretense of due process. "

"Until the world acts to hold the Venezuelan government accountable, it will continue to lock up its dissenters with impunity," said Genser.

Lopéz's trial was scheduled to begin this week, on July 23, although past court dates have been postponed with little warning or explanation. Lopéz has been held in isolation in a military prison since his arrest. The government has charged him with public incitement, damage to property, fire damage and "association for conspiracy".