A video released by Franklin Nieves, one of the two prosecutors involved in the case against Venezuelan opposition leader Leopoldo López, has called the trial a farce.
In the video, which has had a huge response on Venezuelan social media, Nieves claims he has left the country with his family, fearing repercussions after López was sentenced to more than 13 years in prison.
“I decided to leave Venezuela with my family because of the pressure that I was under from the executive branch and my superiors to continue to defend the false evidence that was used to convict Leopoldo López,” Nieves comments in the video, released by Venezuelan channel La Patilla.
“Leopoldo López is innocent,” Nieves said in an interview with the Wall Street Journal.
“This was a totally political trial which should be nullified. All of Leopoldo López’s human rights were violated because he was not able to present any witnesses or evidence,” he added.
A text message was sent to Nieves’ cellphone number asking if he was in the U.S. was answered, “Affirmative.” However, there is still little evidence confirming as to whether it was Nieves himself who responded, according to the New York Times.
López, a former mayor of Caracas, was arrested in February 2014 over charges of inciting violent protests against President Nicolás Maduro. International rights advocates stepped in during the trial, claiming that López was denied the most basic of rights during the process.
Juan Carlos Gutiérrez, the defense lawyer for López’s case responded to the video on his Twitter account, tweeting “The evidence against López has been found completely void. The sentence should be lifted and the accused freed immediately.” El Tiempo reports.
Lilian Tintori, López’s wife, continues to lead a media campaign demanding his release.
For many Venezuelans, the video confirms believes that Maduro and his allies remain in firm control of the country’s political system.