Venezuela charges two former US soldiers with terrorism and conspiracy

WION Web Team
CaracasUpdated: May 08, 2020, 11:51 PM IST


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Venezuela has charged two former US soldiers with 'terrorism' and 'conspiracy'.

Luke Alexander Denman, 34, and Airan Berry, 41, have been charged with "terrorism" and "conspiracy" by Venezuela on Friday. The two soldiers were among 17 people captured by the Venezuelan military.

The military claims the group of 17 were attempting an invasion to topple President Nicolas Maduro in the early hours of Sunday morning.

Attorney-General Tarek William Saab briefed the media that the two ex-soldiers could be looking at 25-30 years in prison as hey have been charged with terrorism, conspiracy, illicit trafficking of weapons of war and (criminal) association.

Venezuela has requested an international arrest warrant to capture the mastermind of this force, Jordan Goudreau, who is a former US army medic. It is alleged that he trained the mercenary force. Eight attackers were reportedly killed in the attempted incursion.

President Maduro had earlier accused his American counterpart Donald Trump to be the direct head of this invasion. To which, Donald Trump had replied, "If I wanted to go into Venezuela I wouldn't make a secret about it. I'd go in and they would do nothing about it. They would roll over. I wouldn't send a small little group. No, no, no. It would be called an army. It would be called an invasion." (as told to Fox News)

The US army confirmed they were former members of the Green Berets, deployed to Iraq. Mike Pompeo, Secretary of State, assured that the US government will use every possible tool to get the soldiers safely back to the States.

Venezuela Attorney General has also accused Juan Guaido, opposition leader, to be behind this inavsion. He has also accused Juan accused Guaido of signing a US$212 million (S$300 million) contract with "hired mercenaries" using funds seized by the United States from the state oil company PDVSA.

(With inputs from AFP)