Ismael Leon is still under arrest, his parliamentary immunity violated for charges unknown, but at least he will serve his time in his own house.
However, the lawmaker can consider himself lucky: the Nicolas Maduro regime keeps 388 political prisoners, according to the Organization of American States and local NGO Foro Penal. Two lawmakers, Gilber Caro, and Juan Requesens are included in that number, as well as more than 100 military officers, other elected officials, opposition party militants, sympathizers, demonstrators and even people who have tweeted criticizing the regime.
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Leon, a Caracas lawmaker with the Voluntad Popular party, was kidnapped by an unknown agency on January 21st, as he was preparing to leave for the National Assembly with other opposition lawmakers. The Assembly is currently surrounded by Colectivo gangs and National Guard that have physically prevented lawmakers from meeting there.
Both judge Hilda Villanueva and the court staff refused to share information about the Leon case with his lawyer Joel Garcia -who also assists Requesens- and pressured him into accepting a government defender.
Garcia said, “Will keep on arraigning people in the wee hours of the morning. If there is one Human Rights violator in Venezuela, that is judge Hilda Villanueva. Until I talk to her in person, I do not know anything,” about the case Garcia told El Pitazo. Leon suffers from a heart ailment.