CARACAS – Venezuela’s National Constituent Assembly (ANC) authorized on Monday the Supreme Court to bring the opposition-controlled Parliament’s vice-president, Freddy Guevara, to trial.
“Historic decision,” said the ANC’s president, Delcy Rodriguez, after an extraordinary session on Monday at which the entity decided to “authorize the continuation of the trial of ... Guevara.”
Last Friday, the Supreme Court asked for Guevara’s parliamentary immunity from prosecution to be withdrawn and declared that he must be brought to trial because “he allegedly involved himself in an ongoing way in the crimes of association, continued public incitement and the use of adolescents to commit a crime,” without specifying anything further about those charges.
The head of the opposition-controlled Parliament, Julio Borges, called on Sunday the Supreme Court’s ruling against Guevara “absolutely political ... arbitrary ... outside the law,” adding that the move seeks to “continue weakening” the chamber.
Borges said that the move by the TSJ is “one more attempt” to try and “destroy the Parliament,” adding that since the opposition took control of the chamber after the 2015 legislative election, the government has sought to divest it of its functions.
On Saturday night, Guevara took refuge at the Chilean embassy in Venezuela after accusing the Nicolas Maduro-led government of trying to strip him of his parliamentary immunity and prosecute him.
Guevara is accused by the Venezuelan prosecutor’s office of the crimes in question for his role in the antigovernment protests earlier this year in which at least 120 people lost their lives.
“The time for justice has arrived,” Rodriguez added at Monday’s ANC session.
The Venezuelan opposition, a large portion of civil society and numerous governments in Europe and the Americas do not recognize the legitimacy of the ANC, an entity comprised only of government supporters that was created and installed in what has been called a fraudulent and illegitimate way by the Nicolas Maduro government.