In Chile Government willing to grant asylum to Venezuelan opposition lawmaker

Chile is prepared to grant political asylum to a Venezuelan opposition lawmaker who sought refuge at its embassy in Caracas claiming that his safety was in danger, the foreign minister said Monday.

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Freddy Guevara (right), seen here meeting German Chancellor Angela Merkel in September, requested Chile's protection after Venezuela's high court announced he would be prosecuted on charges punishable by a decade in prison play

Freddy Guevara (right), seen here meeting German Chancellor Angela Merkel in September, requested Chile's protection after Venezuela's high court announced he would be prosecuted on charges punishable by a decade in prison

(AFP)
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Chile is prepared to grant political asylum to a Venezuelan opposition lawmaker who sought refuge at its embassy in Caracas claiming that his safety was in danger, the foreign minister said Monday.

Venezuela's government is locked in a vicious political fight with the opposition, which dismisses President Nicolas Maduro as a leftwing dictator who has gutted the oil-rich and economically ailing country's democracy.

Freddy Guevara, the opposition-held National Assembly's number two official, sought refuge at Chile's embassy in Caracas Saturday, a day after the pro-government Supreme Court stripped him of his immunity and said he would be prosecuted on charges punishable by a decade in prison.

Chile has taken in Guevara as a guest "for humanitarian reasons and in light of international law," Chilean Foreign Minister Heraldo Munoz told reporters.

And Chile is willing to grant Guevara, 31, political asylum but so far he has not requested it, the minister said.

The prominent opposition leader became the seventh Venezuelan to seek protection at the embassy in less than three months. They include four judges who sought protection at Chile's embassy in Caracas, escaped to Colombia and then made their way to Santiago, Chile, where they asked for political asylum.

Venezuela's top court on Friday announced the suspension of Guevara's immunity to enable him to be tried for crimes of "association, persistent public instigation and the use of an adolescent to commit crimes," without specifying when the allegations date from.

The pro-government Constituent Assembly -- which governs crisis-stricken Venezuela with absolute power and replaced the congress where Guevara had a seat -- is investigating the lawmaker in connection with mass protests against the embattled Maduro that left 125 dead between April and July.

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