Nov 19, 2014 11:29 AM

Jailed Venezuelan leader to skip court in protest

The Associated Press

CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) Jailed Venezuelan opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez says he will skip his own trial to draw attention to a United Nations request for his freedom.

Lopez gave an impassioned speech in court Tuesday saying he would waive his right to be present at hearings until an appeals court rules on whether to comply with U.N. calls for his freedom.

The U.N. Working Group on Arbitrary Detentions and the body's top human rights official have urged his release.

Last week, the judge overseeing Lopez's case ruled that the U.N. finding was nonbinding, and merely a statement in favor of Lopez. His lawyers immediately appealed.

Lopez has been jailed since February for his role in the street demonstrations that shook the socialist country earlier this year. He faces charges of inciting violence.


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