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Venezuela's national assembly approves plans for a sweeping political amnesty

Venezuela's national assembly approves plans for a sweeping political amnesty
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By Catherine Hardy with AFP
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President Nicolas Maduro has promised to block the bill

  • Venezuela’s national assembly approves sweeping political amnesty
  • President refuses to let it pass

The news

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Venezuela’s opposition-controlled national assembly has passed an amnesty law it says will free people it says are political prisoners.

The law would benefit high-profile opposition figures who are behind bars.

Some have already been convicted while others still face trial.

“Esa ley por aquí no pasará” https://t.co/7YMCAYQi12 Maduro anuncia que no promulgará la Ley de Amnistía que beneficia a Leopoldo López

— EL PAÍS (@el_pais) March 30, 2016

Speaking in a televised address, Venezuala’s president refused to pass the bill. President Nicolas Maduro has vowed to veto the bill.

“They are passing a law to protect murderers, criminals, drug traffickers and terrorists. Rest assured that the law will not pass through,” Maduro told a gathering of supporters at the presidential palace.

Leopoldo Lopez

Leopoldo López es el favorito para ocupar la presidencia de Venezuela, según Hinterlaces https://t.co/Lic3ZGi2P6pic.twitter.com/aU6HdUHT6K

— Eddy R. Matute M. (@Eddy_Matute) March 21, 2016

Opposition figure Leopoldo Lopez is one of the high-profile figures who could be freed If the bill is made law, hardline opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez could be among those whose cases are under review.

He was convicted of provoking anti-government protests in 2014. 43 people died in the ensuing violence.

Lopez was found guilty of arson, violence and damage to public property.

He was sentenced to 13 years and nine months in prison.

*What they are saying *

“This law will lay the foundations for national reconciliation”- lawmaker Delsa Solórzano.

“They are passing a law to protect murderers, criminals, drug traffickers and terrorists. Rest assured that the law will not pass through. Laws to protect terrorists and criminals will not pass. No matter what they do.”Venezualan President Nicolas Maduro tells supporters gathered at the Miraflores presidential palace.

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