Congressman Sires' Statement on Venezuelan Sentence Against Pro-Democracy Leader Leopoldo López
(Washington, D.C.) - Today, Congressman Sires issued the following statement on the conviction and sentencing of Venezuelan opposition leader Leopoldo López:
"Sentencing Leopoldo López to 13 years in a military prison is an unjust and politically motivated stunt by Maduro in his quest to continue to silence pro-democracy leaders in Venezuela. With elections looming in Venezuela, Maduro is clamping down on the democratic principles that the Venezuelan people have been fighting, and dying for.
It is worth noting that the United States is not alone in its condemnation of Maduro's defenseless actions. The UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention found López's detention arbitrary in October 2014 and demanded his immediate release. Similar statements have been echoed by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, UN Committee Against Torture, the former Secretary-General of the Organization of American States JosÃ© Miguel Insulza, Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos, Peruvian President Ollanta Humala, Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, the European Union, Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, and the New York Times and Washington Post Editorial Boards.
I join these international leaders in condemning Maduro's blatant disregard for the basic tenants of a free society and urge Maduro to overturn the charges against Leopoldo immediately."