Sat | Nov 18, 2017

Jailed opposition leader given house arrest

Published:Sunday | July 9, 2017 | 12:00 AM

CARACAS (AP):

Opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez was released from prison and placed under house arrest yesterday after more than three years in military lock-up, in a shock reversal that fuelled hopes for a broader amnesty for dozens of jailed activists as the country slides even deeper into political turmoil.

Venezuela's Supreme Court said in a statement that it had granted Lopez the "humanitarian measures" for health reasons and "serious signs of irregularities" in the handling of the case that it did not specify.

A euphoric Lopez briefly greeted a few dozen supporters gathered outside his home in Caracas in the afternoon. Climbing atop a wall dressed in a white shirt, he clutched and kissed a Venezuelan flag and raised his right fist in a show of defiance.

Lopez vowed that he's prepared to return to jail rather than give up his fight to remove President Nicol·s Maduro.

As his backers celebrated, relatives of dozens of other jailed activists gathered at a Caracas jail in hopes that their loved ones might be released too in the coming hours.