Venezuelan court jails intelligence service agents over detained parliament president

AFP
Caracas, Capital District, Venezuela Updated: Jan 17, 2019, 06:44 AM(IST)

File photo of Juan Guaido. Photograph:( AFP )

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The Caracas court remanded the agents in pre-trial detention after they were accused of 'abuse of functions, illegitimate deprivation of liberty and association to commit a crime.'

A dozen intelligence service agents were sent to prison by a Venezuelan court Wednesday over the brief detention of parliamentary president Juan Guaido, a judicial source said.

The Caracas court remanded the agents in pre-trial detention after they were accused of "abuse of functions, illegitimate deprivation of liberty and association to commit a crime."

Guaido was heading to a political rally outside the Venezuelan capital on Sunday when his car was stopped on a highway and he was briefly detained by the SEBIN agents.

President Nicolas Maduro's government denied any knowledge of the operation and initially claimed that four agents involved had been dismissed.

Maduro branded the whole incident a "media circus" and accused the agents of conspiring with Venezuela's opposition.

Guaido, meanwhile, responded by mocking Maduro and questioning his control over the state's security agencies.

"So Maduro no longer controls the armed forces because the chain of command was broken," said Guaido.

"Who is commanding the regime now? If they're already admitting that they don't control the state's security agencies, there's a serious problem at Miraflores," he added, referring to the presidential palace.

Guaido has been trying to attract support from the military as he leads the opposition bid to remove Maduro from power and set up a transitional government.

But Maduro retains the backing of the military's high command, which last week pledged "absolute loyalty." 

Guaido has promised an "amnesty" for any military that disavow Maduro and has called for a people's protest next week.

The opposition-controlled National Assembly, which he leads, has been left ineffective since the Maduro loyalist-filled Supreme stripped it of all its powers in 2017.

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