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Press Release: Cotler Urges Government to Call for Release of Venezuelan Opposition Leader Leopoldo López

Posted on February 9, 2015

COTLER URGES GOVERNMENT TO CALL FOR RELEASE OF VENEZUELAN OPPOSITION LEADER LEOPOLDO LÓPEZ

Liberal MP calls on Canada to join international condemnation of “erosion of democracy” in Venezuela

Ottawa – February 9, 2015 – During Question Period on Friday, MP Irwin Cotler, Liberal Party critic for rights and freedoms and international justice, urged the Canadian government to call for the release of imprisoned Venezuelan opposition leader Leopoldo López and other political prisoners in Venezuela. Cotler has been serving for several months as López’s international legal counsel together with American lawyer Jared Genser.

Cotler noted that this February marks one year since “the crackdown on peaceful protests in Venezuela, which left 43 dead, 3000 arrested, and scores of political prisoners,” including López. Cotler pressed Canada to join the United States, the United Nations, the European Parliament, the Vatican, and other world leaders who have called for the release of Venezuelan political prisoners, as well as “an end to domestic repression and the safeguarding of democracy, human rights, and the rule of law in Venezuela.”

David Anderson, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, replied that the government will “continue to call for those principles around the world and we will continue to stand strongly for them and continue to speak up on these issues.”

Afterward, Cotler called the government’s answer “a vague and generic non-response which suggests that the case and cause of Leopoldo López – not to mention the massive crackdown and erosion of democracy and the rule of law in Venezuela – is not on the government’s radar. The government must join our international partners in the US, Europe, and elsewhere, and act upon the findings and determinations of our own Foreign Affairs Subcommittee, all of which have condemned Lopez’s imprisonment and called for his release.”

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Contact:               Michael Milech

Office of Hon. Irwin Cotler

613-995-0121, Irwin.cotler.a2@parl.gc.ca

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