Venezuela opposition blames Maduro for activist's jail death

Reuters News
Posted: Sep 18, 2017 3:57 PM

CARACAS (Reuters) - Venezuela's opposition blamed President Nicolas Maduro's government on Monday for the death of a sick activist in jail, saying he was framed and then denied medical help.

Carlos Garcia, a local legislator in western Apure state, suffered a stroke in August after being arrested in late 2016 during protests and having money planted on him, his party said.

Two days before his death on Sunday, Garcia was granted house arrest but was never transported home, the Justice First party added in a statement, saying the accusations were invented and urgent medical help was denied prior to his stroke.

"He should never have been in prison and should never have died at the hands of a repressive government whose hands today more than ever are stained with blood," said party secretary general Tomas Guanipa.

Venezuela's opposition parties accuse Maduro, the 54-year-old successor of Hugo Chavez, of being a dictator and maintaining hundreds of political prisoners on trumped-up charges.

He denies that, saying all activists behind bars are there on legitimate charges, including for "terrorism" and coup-plotting against his socialist government.

There was no word from authorities on Garcia's death, and it was not clear if there had been formal charges against him.

(Reporting by Diego Ore; Writing by Andrew Cawthorne; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)