WASHINGTON, (Pakistan Point News - APP - 16th Augst,2016) - The United States on Monday denounced what it called a "miscarriage of justice" in Venezuela, where a court last week upheld the 14-year prison sentence for opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez. Washington and Caracas, which have had frosty relations in recent years and have not exchanged ambassadors since 2010, regularly trade such barbs, particularly surrounding the South American nation's ongoing political crisis.
Lopez, one of leftist President Nicolas Maduro's most hardline opponents, has repeatedly declared himself innocent of the crime for which he was convicted -- inciting violence at anti-government protests in 2014. "The United States is deeply concerned by the Venezuelan Court of Appeals decision to allow the miscarriage of justice to continue against political prisoner Leopoldo Lopez," State Department spokeswoman Elizabeth Trudeau said.
The 45-year-old US-educated economist was arrested in February 2014 amid a wave of pro- and anti-government protests that swept Venezuela and left 43 people dead. Trudeau said that since his arrest and subsequent sentencing in September 2015, the United States has "underscored our concern with the unsubstantiated and politically motivated charge brought against Mr Lopez." Lopez's sentence, handed down after a closed-door trial, was strongly condemned by the United Nations, the United States and the European Union.