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Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 22 June 2018

Venezuelan opposition leader Lopez returned to house arrest, wife says

He was first arrested in 2014 and released to home detention last month

A still image taken from a video released on August 1, 2017 shows opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez and his wife, Lilian Tintori, talking in their house in Caracas, Venezuela on July 17, 2017. Reuters
A still image taken from a video released on August 1, 2017 shows opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez and his wife, Lilian Tintori, talking in their house in Caracas, Venezuela on July 17, 2017. Reuters

Venezuelan opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez was returned to house arrest after being detained in military prison for four days, his wife Lilian Tintori said.

"They just moved Leopoldo home," Ms Tintori wrote on Twitter on Saturday. "We continue with more conviction and strength for peace and freedom in Venezuela!"

Mr Lopez, 46, was already under house arrest when he was picked up by Venezuelan intelligence services overnight Monday, one day after a vote to choose a powerful constituent assembly tasked with rewriting the constitution.

He was first arrested in 2014 and released to home detention last month.

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Another high-profile dissident, Antonio Ledezma, 62, was released back to house arrest Friday after being hauled away the same day as Mr Lopez. He had already been in home detention since 2015.

Following their arrests, the Venezuelan Supreme Court alleged that they had been planning to flee, either into hiding in Venezuela or abroad.

The arrests triggered stern international criticism, with US president Donald Trump saying the pair were "political prisoners being held illegally by the regime", which he dubbed "the Maduro dictatorship".

Also on Saturday the new assembly loyal to the embattled Maduro fired the country's attorney general, Luisa Ortega, one of the president's most vociferous critics, sparking a firestorm of condemnation from the US and Latin American nations.