By Carlos Camacho
Venezuela’s Supreme Court dismissed Thursday a writ of appeal by the defense team of Leopoldo Lopez, ratifying a 14-year sentence for "subliminally" inciting the bloody 2014 riots, one day after US President Donald J. Trump asked the political prisoner “be freed immediately” and met with Lopez’s wife Lilian Tintori in the White House.
Tintori also met Wednesday with Republican lawmaker Senator Marco Rubio and Vice President Mike Pence. Trump tweeted a picture of the encounter.
The Venezuelan Supreme Court, however, was not impressed by Trump’s request or his meeting with Tintori. Come Thursday morning, the plenum of the Court’s “Sala de Casacion Penal”, an appeal instance for criminal cases, chose to disregard the defense’s resources and reaffirmed the previous sentence, imposed by a lower court, against Lopez and co-defendants Demian Martin (4 years and six months), Angel Gonzalez (also four years and six months) and Christian Holdak (10 years), according to local and social media reports.
That is in spite of the fact that the original prosecutor, Franklin Nieves, fled to the United States seeking asylum after the trial and denounced the Lopez trial as a sham. Nieves is still in the U.S. seeking asylum.
Lopez has now been in prison for 3 years.