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Jamie Hancock
Human Rights Foundation
(212) 246.8486


NEW YORK (February 18, 2014)—The Human Rights Foundation (HRF) condemns the arbitrary arrest of Venezuelan opposition leader Leopoldo López on charges of “murder” and  “terrorism” and calls on President Nicolás Maduro’s government to release him immediately. López was arrested in Caracas today while leading a peaceful demonstration to the Ministry of Interior, Justice and Peace. López is one of the main leaders of the Venezuelan opposition coalition Mesa de la Unidad.
“López’s arrest under the labels of ‘Nazi,’ ‘fascist,’ ‘terrorist,’ and ‘murderer’ is offensive not just to members of the Venezuelan opposition, but to pro-democracy advocates all around the world, including many survivors of tyranny sitting on HRF’s board who have suffered under Nazism, fascism, and state terrorism,” said HRF chairman, Garry Kasparov. “His arrest is intended to intimidate anyone opposing Maduro’s regime and highlights the despotic nature of the current Venezuelan government,” concluded Kasparov.
Recently, HRF rejected the arrest warrant issued against López and stressed the necessity for the current government of Venezuela to foster a peaceful transition to a political system that listens to the opposition, starting with opening to an honest and democratic dialogue with the other half of the country’s leadership.
The Human Rights Foundation (HRF) is a nonpartisan nonprofit organization that promotes and protects human rights globally, with a focus on closed societies. We believe that all human beings are entitled to freedom of self-determination, freedom from tyranny, the rights to speak freely, to associate with those of like mind, and to leave and enter their countries. Individuals in a free society must be accorded equal treatment and due process under law, and must have the opportunity to participate in the governments of their countries; HRF’s ideals likewise find expression in the conviction that all human beings have the right to be free from arbitrary detainment or exile and from interference and coercion in matters of conscience. HRF does not support nor condone violence. HRF’s International Council includes human rights advocates George Ayittey, Vladimir Bukovsky, Palden Gyatso, Garry Kasparov, Mutabar Tadjibaeva, Ramón J. Velásquez, Elie Wiesel, and Harry Wu.

Contact: Jamie Hancock, (212) 246-8486, jamie@thehrf.org

View this release on our website here.

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