Maduro pardons Venezuela’s political prisoners

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Caracas, June 5 (IANS) Venezuela President Nicolas Maduro has said he has granted pardon to those considered political prisoners in the country, some of whom have already been released, as part of a reconciliation process announced by the government.

“I pardon them. I believe that pardon is necessary to move towards a higher state of national spirit,” Maduro said on Monday during a meeting with the authorities of the ruling United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) in Caracas, Efe news reported.

According to Maduro, the 80 releases granted over the last few days “are going in the right direction”, and he called for “the understanding and support of the whole country”.

Maduro claimed that this move is about “measures of benefit and freedom towards the political actors involved in the violence” and in acts, he said, that were aimed at overthrowing the Bolivarian revolution.

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“To my opponent, to the most violent of all, to the one who went out to throw stones, who came out with a gun, who were called to overthrow the government… and did not succeed because here I am as President, and as President I say: Let’s go to politics, let’s go to peace,” he said.

The Venezuelan President also pointed out that 80 per cent of the population supports dialogue, appeasement, reconciliation and reunification – the very reasons why his government is pursuing the measure of granting pardons.

However, he made clear that “if they go back into violence, they will return to prison. Again, justice will be applied.”

Of the almost 100 releases announced so far by the government, only 39 correspond to “political prisoners,” according to Foro Penal, the organisation that leads the defence of almost 400 such cases in the country.

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–IANS

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