Venezuelan judge orders opposition leader to stand trial

A Venezuelan judge has ruled that Popular Will party leader and opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez, who has been jailed since February, must stand trial to face charges of instigating violence at anti-government demonstrations.
By JC Finley  |  June 5, 2014 at 5:27 PM
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CARACAS, Venezuela, June 5 (UPI) -- Venezuelan Judge Adriana Lopez has ruled that opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez must stand trial to face charges of property damage, arson, and instigating violence.

If the Popular Will party leader is found guilty, he faces up to 10 years in prison. He has been jailed since February.

His party, which asserts the charges are politically motivated, lamented via Twitter after the judge's decision was announced that "unfortunately, justice has not been done."

Leopoldo Lopez has been credited -- and blamed -- for the anti-government protests that have rocked Venezuela since February. Lopez used social media to begin a campaign for change, using the hash-tag #lasalida, which translates from Spanish as "the exit" or "the solution."

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro's government has blamed Lopez and foreign-backed "fascists" for the political unrest while the opposition has claimed the security forces were to blame for the violence, which has resulted in 42 deaths.

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