Venezuela opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez gets nearly 14 years prisonhttps://indianexpress.com/article/world/world-others/venezuela-opposition-leader-leopoldo-lopez-gets-nearly-14-years-prison/

Venezuela opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez gets nearly 14 years prison

Lopez is accused of inciting violence against the government of President Nicolas Maduro and attempting to force his ouster.

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Leopoldo Lopez was sentenced to 13 years, nine months and seven days in prison. (Source: AP)

Jailed Venezuelan opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez was sentenced to 13 years, nine months and seven days in prison, his lawyer Roberto Marrero said.

The popular dissident, a US-trained economist who has been held at a military prison since February 2014, is accused of inciting violence against the government of President Nicolas Maduro and attempting to force his ouster.

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Marrero made the announcement on his Twitter account, noting that Lopez will be held at the Ramo Verde military prison, the site where he is currently being held.

“If the sentence condemns me you will be more fearful to read it than I will be to hear it, because you know that I’m innocent,” Lopez defiantly told the judge according to a witness, David Smolansky.

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Smolansky, a Caracas neighborhood mayor who was at the closed-door hearing, described Lopez’s appearance via Twitter.

Fighting broke out earlier in the day between supporters of Lopez, 44, and pro-government demonstrators outside the courthouse.

Wielding sticks and plastic bottles, supporters of socialist president Maduro’s government descended on a group of Lopez’s followers who had been waiting since the early hours of the morning for the final phase of his trial, an AFP correspondent said.

Lopez supporters said one of their activists had died of a heart attack during the scuffle — a claim that could not be independently verified.

The police and national guard later intervened to keep the two groups apart.