Democratic Opposition in Venezuela - 2017, Venezuela

Democratic Opposition in Venezuela: National Assembly (Julio Borges) and all Political Prisoners as listed by Foro Penal Venezolano represented by Leopoldo López, Antonio Ledezma, Daniel Ceballos, Yon Goicoechea, Lorent Saleh, Alfredo Ramos and Andrea González

Sakharov Prize 2017 laureate Democratic Opposition in Venezuela

© EU 2017 - EP/AP Images / Ariana Cubillos

For the last several years, Venezuela has been in political crisis. The ruling party has steadily limited the rule of law of and the constitutional order, and in March 2017 the Supreme Court stripped the democratically elected National Assembly of legislative power. Julio Borges, the president of the National Assembly, summed up the situation in Venezuela in the following words: "It's not only a political confrontation in Venezuela. It's a vital, existential, values-based confrontation".

At the same time, the number of political prisoners has amounted to more than six hundred, according to the latest report of Foro Penal Venezolano (Venezuelan Penal Forum), a prominent Venezuelan human rights organisation that provides legal assistance pro bono, to those with limited economic resources and presumed to be detained arbitrarily, tortured or assaulted during protests. Among the political prisoners are prominent opposition leaders Leopoldo López, Antonio Ledezma, Daniel Ceballos, Yon Goicoechea, Lorent Saleh, Alfredo Ramos and Andrea González.

While Venezuela opposition leader Leopoldo López was temporarily granted house arrest in July after more than three years in detention, he was transferred back to prison in August 2017. Another prominent opposition politician and former mayor of Caracas, Antonio Ledesma, has been under house arrest since 2015, while fellow former mayors Alfredo Ramos, of Iribarren, and Daniel Ceballos, of San Cristobal, have also been imprisoned, as well as a student activist Lorent Saleh. Two Spanish citizens, Andrea Gonzalez and Yon Goicoechea, are among the political prisoners.

Since the beginning of the year, more than 130 opponents have been murdered and more than 500 have been arbitrarily imprisoned.

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