Venezuela: house arrest for a deputy accused in an attack

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Venezuelan opposition MP Juan Requesens, accused of involvement in a failed 2018 attack against President Nicolas Maduro and imprisoned since, was placed under house arrest on Friday, his defense announced.

Juan Requesens, who was detained at the headquarters of the Venezuelan Intelligence Service (SEBIN), is now under house arrest at his home in eastern Caracas. His trial, which is ongoing, is expected to resume on Monday, according to one of his lawyers, Joel Garcia.

“The measure of deprivation of liberty has been replaced by a house arrest,” said Charity Flores, a lawyer who is also part of his defense. Juan Requesens “is apparently in good health,” she said.

“My brother Juan is at home,” Rafaela Requesens, a former student leader, confirmed on Twitter.

Henrique Capriles, a former opposition presidential candidate, posted a video on Instagram in which the MP is seen arriving at his home, greeting and hugging relatives, lawyers and opposition officials.

Mr. Requesens is, like Mr. Capriles, a member of the opposition party Primero Justicia.

The authorities have not communicated on his placement under house arrest.

The deputy, who had been detained since August 7, 2018, is charged with “attempted homicide” and other charges including “terrorism”, “treason of the motherland” and “criminal association”.

Mr. Requesens, who declares himself innocent, faces 30 years in prison.

Three days before his arrest, two drones loaded with explosives had exploded near a platform on which President Maduro was presiding over a military parade in central Caracas.

Mr. Maduro then accused former Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos of having planned the attack with the participation of people residing in Colombia, the United States and Peru.

In a video released after the arrest of Mr. Requesens, the MP admitted to having been in contact with one of the people involved according to Caracas. The opposition said he had been threatened or drugged to force him to make the comments.

Opposition leader Juan Guaido reacted to the measure concerning Mr Requesens on Friday. “We know house arrest is far from freedom, but justice will win,” tweeted Mr. Guaido, who has proclaimed himself interim president and is recognized as such by some 50 countries including the United States. .

Three other opposition deputies are detained by the Venezuelan authorities.

According to the human rights NGO Foro Penal, there are 386 “political prisoners” in Venezuela.

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