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Venezuela's Leopoldo Lopez returns to house arrest

Posted August 6

Venezuelan opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez, whose recent imprisonment was criticized by the international community, was released to house arrest late Saturday.

"They just brought Leopoldo home. We are working with more conviction and more firmly in order to find peace and freedom for Venezuela!," his wife Lilian Tintori tweeted.

On Tuesday, Lopez and Antonio Ledezma -- another opposition leader under house arrest -- were removed by armed men from their homes after a controversial Sunday vote in Venezuela.

The Venezuelan Supreme Court said the politicians house arrests were revoked because intelligence officials claimed they were planning to flee in the aftermath the elections.

The White House condemned the detention of the two politicans.

"The United States holds (Venezuelan President Nicolas) Maduro ... personally responsible for the health and safety of Mr. Lopez, Mr. Ledezma, and any others seized," US President Donald Trump said in a statement.

Ledezma, a former mayor of Caracas, was returned to house arrest early Friday.

"Leopoldo back at home as a replacement measure. It means he had not violated it and there was no escape plan," opposition lawmaker Henry Ramos Allup wrote on Twitter.

Who is Leopoldo Lopez?

Lopez, a former mayor of a Caracas district, has been under custody since early 2014 over accusations of inciting anti-government protests.

In 2015, he was sentenced to nearly 14 years in prison. His imprisonment became a rallying cry for anti-regime demonstrators.

Last month authorities granted him house arrest due to health concerns.

Lopez, who is a vocal opponent of the Maduro government, was imprisoned in 2014 after at least three people were killed during an anti-government protest in the capital -- violence that authorities blamed on him.

Despite his house arrest, Lopez made public statements against last week's elections.

In a 15-minute video posted online, Lopez urged Venezuelans to keep up anti-regime protests leading up to the vote. He called Maduro and his supporters a "very clear threat," saying their goal is to undermine democracy and achieve the "absolute submission of the Venezuelan people."

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