As you may recall, last September dissident leader Leopoldo López was sentenced to 13+ years in jail following a sham trial. He was jailed on February 18, 2014.
Now the case’s prosecutor, Franklin Nieves, is saying the case was 100% fabricated:
Case against Venezuelan opposition leader fabricated, ex-prosecutor says
Ex-prosecutor Franklin Nieves, who fled Venezuela last week, told CNN en Español on Tuesday that “100% of the investigation was invented” around false evidence in a sham prosecution allegedly orchestrated by President Nicolas Maduro and Diosdado Cabello, the head of the National Assembly.
. . .
The former prosecutor said that “after examining each and every piece of evidence it was shown that this person had at no point made even a single call to violence.”
It would make for a Capt. Louis Renault moment, but the actual surprise is that Nieves confessed.
The WSJ has the motive behind the confession (emphasis added):
Venezuela Prosecutor Franklin Nieves Says Opposition Leader’s Trial Was a Sham. Leopoldo López’s conviction last month was ordered from above, prosecutor says after escaping to Miami
“Leopoldo López is innocent,” Mr. Nieves said in an interview with The Wall Street Journal, his first since fleeing Venezuela late last week and releasing a video saying the proceedings were bogus. His about-face is causing a political uproar in Caracas and a thorny problem for the embattled administration of President Nicolás Maduro, the heir to the late populist Hugo Chávez.
Dabbing at his eyes with a handkerchief, Mr. Nieves apologized for his actions as the prosecutor who detained Mr. López and jointly supervised his trial. “From my heart, I want to ask for forgiveness from Venezuela, Leopoldo López’s, López’s wife, the López family, and especially from their children,” he said.
After claiming they were heading for a vacation in Aruba, Mr. Nieves brought his wife and two daughters with him to Miami, where the family is seeking asylum in the U.S.,
Here’s Nieves’s recorded statement (in Spanish),
The WSj points out,
But it is one thing for human rights groups to say the trial was a farce, and quite another for the prosecutor to admit it. The statements by the prosecutor, a brief version of which surfaced in a video released last week, have underscored the lack of an independent judiciary in Venezuela.
“The lack of independence and autonomy of the judiciary from political power is one of the weakest points of democracy in Venezuela,” the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, an independent arm of the Organization of American States, said in its 2014 annual report released in May of this year.
That same year, the United Nations Committee Against Torture found that some 62% of judges in Venezuela are in temporary posts, meaning they can be removed at the will of the state, raising concerns over their impartiality.
UN Watch today urged member states of the UN General Assembly to oppose the re-election on Wednesday of egregious human rights abusers Venezuela, Pakistan and UAE to the UN Human Rights Council, as well as Burundi, Ecuador, Ethiopia, Kyrgyzstan, Lao, and Togo, due to widespread criticism of these governments’ violations of fundamental freedoms.
Sure enough, Venezuela was elected to the UN Human Rights Council yesterday, proving once more that the U.N. is immune to irony (and ridicule).
At the blogs:
Caracas Chronicles: Nieves the Victim. Leopoldo López’s prosecutor, Franklin Nieves, wallows in self-pity as he tells the world he participated in a plot to fake the evidence used against Lopez.
Venezuela News and Views: The banality of evil, Caracas style