Venezuelan Opposition Lawmaker Released on House Arrest

Opposition lawmaker Juan Requesens was released on house arrest on Friday after spending two years in prison for alleged links to an attack on Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, for which he’s on trial.

His release was confirmed by his sister Rafaela Requesens.

Requesens, 31, was one of the people accused of constructing a2018 attack to kill Maduro by explosive-laden drones during a military parade that wounded officers but left the president unharmed. After delaying an initial hearing for more than a year, his trial began in late 2019 and is still ongoing.

He was held in Caracas’ notorious Helicoide prison, where his family argued he was routinely denied medical care or access to his defense team. Among other charges, he was also accused of treason, embezzlement, illegal weapon possession and terrorism.

Previously the head of one of Venezuela’s largest student unions, Requesens rose to prominence in 2014 during a wave of anti-government protests. After being elected a congressman in 2015, he continued to advocate for street demonstrations against the socialist regime, and was a key organizer of unrest in 2017 that spanned months and claimed dozens of lives.

Joel Garcia, Requesens’ lawyer, told reporters that he had asked to review the measures against the lawmaker since March due to the coronavirus pandemic. “He will have police surveillance 24 hours a day, he is still imprisoned, but he will be at home.”

— With assistance by Nicolle Yapur, and Alex Vasquez

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