|Free Leopoldo and Free the Students|
Merriam-Webster has two definitions for a show trial
: a trial in a court of law in which the verdict has been decided in advance.
: a trial (as of political opponents) in which the verdict is rigged and a public confession is often extracted
Opposition leader Leopoldo López and four students: Marco Coello, Christian Holdack, Demian Martín, and Ángel González are being subjected to a political show trial. The verdict has been decided in advance and can only be altered by political considerations due to changing circumstances that impact the executive branch. Judicial independence and the rule of law are non-existent in Venezuela. This "trial" is an exercise in power politics and public relations.
However in this rigged trial a confession has not been extracted. At the end of the hearing today Leopoldo López reiterated that he did not have confidence in the judiciary and that he "is kidnapped" and petitioned for the students to be freed. Leopoldo went on to say "It is a political trial because on at least 16 occasions Maduro threatened me that I had to go to prison and February 12 was only an excuse."
|Marco Coello, 18 year old college student jailed since February 12, 2014|
|Christian Holdack, a 34 year old design student jailed since February 12, 2014|
"It's hard to imagine how Lopez could possibly get a fair trial from a justice system that lacks any real independence. After keeping him locked up for months without providing credible evidence to justify his detention, the judiciary is now refusing to let his attorneys present evidence in his defense."The obvious question that arises: What would happen to the presiding judge, Judge Susana Barrientos, in this case if she exercised judicial independence and tried the case fairly?
|Judge María Lourdes Afiuni jailed on December 10, 2009|
|Prisoner of conscience: Judge María Lourdes Afiuni.|
|Free the Caracas Six: Unjustly deprived of their freedom|
|Sairam Rivas is a 20 year old college student at UCV jailed since May 8, 2014|