- Title: VENEZUELA-POLITICS/FILE Jailed Venezuela opposition ex-mayor granted house arrest
- Date: 12th August 2015
- Summary: TACHIRA, VENEZUELA (FILE) (REUTERS) OPPOSITION LEADER DANIEL CEBALLOS SPEAKING TO MEDIA VARIOUS OF BARRICADES DURING 2014 PROTESTS TACHIRA, VENEZUELA (FILE) (ORIGINALLY 4:3) (REUTERS) VARIOUS OF BURNED BUILDINGS
- Embargoed: 27th August 2015 13:00
- Topics: General
- Reuters ID: LVA4O59ZFBR454ED81A16XEW46EA
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: EDITORS PLEASE NOTE: EDIT CONTAINS MATERIAL THAT WAS ORIGINALLY 4:3
Daniel Ceballos, a jailed former mayor of Venezuela's western city of San Cristobal, has been granted house arrest due to health issues, the public prosecutor's office said on Tuesday (August 11).
The 31-year-old, arrested in March 2014 on accusations he fomented unrest during last year's massive anti-government protests, held a 20-day hunger strike this year that left him weak and with kidney pain, according to supporters.
Ceballos had stopped eating in part to seek the release of jailed politicians including opposition heavyweight Leopoldo Lopez, who was detained on similar charges a month before him.
"The accused will be brought to a residence in Caracas," the public prosecutor's office said in a statement.
Another jailed former opposition mayor, Antonio Ledezma, was in April granted house arrest due to medical problems. Lopez remains locked up in the Ramo Verde military prison.
International pressure has been growing on President Nicolas Maduro to free jailed politicians, whom critics consider political prisoners paying the price for protesting crime, corruption and sky-high inflation.
Maduro says Ceballos and other activists are dangerous coup-plotters intent on destabilising his socialist government.
Ceballos, whose trial is ongoing, won the Democratic Unity (MUD) opposition coalition's primaries in May to run for a seat in upcoming Dec. 6 parliamentary elections.
Authorities later banned him and other opposition politicians from holding office, a move critics blasted as a clampdown on dissent and an attempt to discourage voters ahead of an election the ruling socialists are forecast to lose.
U.S. officials have pressed Venezuela to release the jailed politicians during quiet high-level diplomatic talks, a U.S. official told Reuters.
The United Nations expressed concern for Ceballos' health during the hunger strike, and in October Zeid Ra'ad Al-Hussein, the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, called for Lopez's release.
Ceballos will receive thorough medical exams once he is released from his Caracas jail, said his lawyer Juan Carlos Gutierrez.
He should be spending tonight with his children and wife Patricia de Ceballos, who was elected in a landslide to replace him as San Cristobal mayor, the lawyer added.
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