For immediate release
COTLER CALLS FOR RELEASE OF VENEZUELAN OPPOSITION LEADER LEOPOLDO LÓPEZ ON FIRST ANNIVERSARY OF HIS IMPRISONMENT
Ottawa – February 19, 2015 – MP Irwin Cotler, Liberal Party critic for rights and freedoms and international justice, yesterday marked the first anniversary of the imprisonment of Venezuelan opposition leader Leopoldo López. Cotler, who has been serving as López’s international legal counsel together with American lawyer Jared Genser, made a statement in the House of Commons calling on the government of Venezuela to release López and to “respect human rights, democracy, and the rule of law for all its people.”
Lopez was arrested one year ago as part of a crackdown on peaceful protests that left 43 dead, 3000 detained, and scores of political prisoners.
Said Cotler, “His trial has been a sham in which the judge has allowed over 100 prosecution witnesses while denying defence testimony; his imprisonment has been cruel and inhumane; and last week, a dozen armed men wearing ski masks destroyed the contents of his cell and moved him to a small isolation unit with no toilet or running water.”
In November, López’s wife, Lilian Tintori testified before the Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on International Human Rights. Following her testimony, the Subcommittee passed a unanimous motion condemning the “arbitrary and illegal detention and imprisonment of Mr. López,” “the violations of his fundamental freedoms” and his right to a “fair trial as guaranteed under international law and the Venezuelan constitution”.
López’s sister Diana also testified recently at the Subcommittee, along with other Venezuelan human rights advocates.
Contact: Michael Milech
Office of Hon. Irwin Cotler