- Title: Venezuela's dissident state prosecutor expects to be fired
- Date: 4th July 2017
- Summary: CARACAS, VENEZUELA (JULY 4, 2017) (REUTERS) ****WARNING CONTAINS FLASH PHOTOGRAPHY*** STAFF FROM THE STATE PROSECUTOR'S OFFICE OUTSIDE THE BUILDING IN SUPPORT OF STATE PROSECUTOR LUISA ORTEGA EXTERIOR OF STATE PROSECUTOR'S OFFICE VARIOUS OF ORTEGA ARRIVING AND STANDING BEHIND PODIUM PEOPLE APPLAUDING PEOPLE TAKING THEIR SEAT (SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) VENEZUELAN STATE PROSECUTOR, LUISA ORTEGA, SAYING: "I did not go to the Supreme Court of Justice. I will not validate the circus that tints our history with shame and pain and whose decision is sung. I do not recognize them." PEOPLE APPLAUDING (SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) VENEZUELAN STATE PROSECUTOR, LUISA ORTEGA, SAYING: "We know that today I will be removed and not only me, but also the deputy. But there is one thing. I have here a communication. I designate the vice-prosecutor as the Organized Law of the Public Ministry says, but I have here a communications of the directive of the National Assembly that says that they authorize the vice-prosecutor designation. Which has validity? That of the National Assembly? Or that which has already done [meaning the Supreme Court already made its decision]? I do not know that vice-prosecutor. For me, the vice-prosecutor is Dr. Rafael Gonzalez. " VARIOUS OF ORTEGA MAKING COMMENTS (SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) VENEZUELAN STATE PROSECUTOR, LUISA ORTEGA, SAYING: "I have not committed crimes or misdemeanours but furthermore and still, I will not submit to that unconstitutional and illegitimate Court." PEOPLE APPLAUDING (SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) VENEZUELAN STATE PROSECUTOR, LUISA ORTEGA, SAYING: "This is a coup, more grotesque than that of Carmona [referring to Pedro Carmona who led a 2001 coup against Hugo Chavez]." ORTEGA ENDING HER SPEECH AND LEAVING EXTERIOR OF VENEZUELAN SUPREME COURT JUSTICES ENTERING (SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) SUPREME COURT JUSTICE, JUAN MENDOZA, SAYING: "In this sense and with the purpose of executing the third device of decision 470, sentence 532 on July 3, 2017 and for the continuation of the validity of the body, [the Court] will proceed to swearing in that who is designated to perform the functions of vice-prosecutor of the republic under the vacancy produced." JUSTICES IN ROOM NEWLY APPOINTED VICE-PROSECUTOR, KATHERINE HARINGHTON, ENTERING THE ROOM MEDIA SWEARING IN OF HARINGHTON
- Embargoed: 18th July 2017 19:41
- Keywords: Luisa ortega human rights violations Nicolas Maduro
- Location: CARACAS, VENEZUELA
- City: CARACAS, VENEZUELA
- Country: Venezuela
- Topics: Government/Politics
- Reuters ID: LVA0016OAYWQV
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text:Venezuela's dissident state prosecutor, Luisa Ortega, said she expected to be fired later on Tuesday (July 4) after alleging human rights violations and decrying an erosion of democracy under President Nicolas Maduro.
Ortega, the main challenger to Maduro from within the ruling socialist movement during three months of opposition protests, said she would not recognize legal proceedings against her by an "unconstitutional and illegitimate" Supreme Court.
The internal fissure has emboldened anti-Maduro protesters, who have been staging near-daily demonstrations since April to demand early elections amid a devastating economic crisis that has millions struggling to eat properly.
The pro-government Supreme Court was considering a charge brought by Pedro Carreno, a socialist lawmaker, of "grave offense" against Ortega, a 59-year-old lawyer.
Officials have leveled a plethora of accusations against her, from "insanity" and encouraging "terrorists" to misusing a confiscated plane.
In recent weeks, Ortega has accused security forces of excessive violence, opposed pro-Maduro decisions by the Supreme Court and National Election Council, and said the president's plan for a new congress threatens democracy.
Speaking at her office in Caracas to applauding staff, Ortega said the case against her was rife with procedural errors and signs of collusion between the Supreme Court and the ruling party. She wryly remarked that the case was being handled with unusual speediness by Venezuela's infamously slow legal system.
Earlier on Tuesday, the court's constitutional chamber said her designation of a vice prosecutor was "absolutely null" and instead named its own vice prosecutor.
The court's appointee, Katherine Haringhton, was one of seven officials sanctioned by the United States in 2015 for alleged corruption and rights abuses.
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