Former Spanish Prime Minister Felipe Gonzalez has been prohibited from joining the legal team defending two arrested Venezuelan political figures.
The Supreme Court argues he can not represent them in a legal capacity as he is not registered to practice law in Venezuela.
Gonzalez had been hoping to assist lawyers fighting for hardline opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez and Mayor of Caracas, Antonio Ledezma, who is under house arrest, accused of backing a political coup.
“I don’t agree with the Supreme Court ruling,” said Gonzalez, “because I was seeking to participate with a legal status – which is, of course, legal under Venezuelan law and protected by the constitution. Even though I don’t agree with the ruling, I will fully respect it.”
Lopez was jailed for taking part in 2014 protests against Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro, who sent a tweet rejecting Gonzalez’s visit.
Former mayor of San Cristobal, Daniel Ceballos is also imprisoned. Both he and Lopez are on hunger strike.
Gonzalez has said he will visit the pair, if he is given permission.