On July 8, the government of President Nicolás Maduro of Venezuela delivered its most well-known political prisoner, Leopoldo López, to his home. The Supreme Court, which Mr. Maduro effectively controls, said in a one-paragraph statement that it granted Mr. López house arrest on “humanitarian grounds” because of his “health situation.” It also mentioned “irregularities in the distribution of the case to a criminal court.”The popular leader of Voluntad Popular, a centrist political party, and one of Mr. Maduro’s fiercest critics, Mr. López was arrested in 2014 at the beginning of a brutal crackdown on the huge anti-government protests that he had actively promoted. He was sentenced to nearly 14 years in prison, charged with inciting violence during the protests — false allegations based on fabricated evidence, as a prosecutor in the case told me after fleeing the country.
We will give this story a bit more time, especially with Sunday’s unofficial vote.
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