Venezuelan opposition urges U.S., Colombia to ignore extradition request
CARACAS, Venezuela – Venezuela was pressing Colombia and the US to extradite its former National Assembly speaker as the country's opposition pushed back Thursday, August 9, saying the arrest warrant for the prominent lawmaker Julio Borges was "political in nature."
Venezuela's Supreme Court one day prior had ordered the arrest of Borges for "attempted murder," suspecting his involvement in what officials said was a drone "assassination" attempt on President Nicolas Maduro.
The opposition-dominated legislature said the arrest warrant was "political in nature and should not be recognized by any foreign court."
The National Assembly also denounced the "forced disappearance" of another lawmaker – Juan Requesens, who was seized by intelligence officers overnight – demanding his "immediate release."
The main opposition Justice First party later announced on Twitter intelligence agents had raided the homes of Borges and Requesens on Thursday night without warrants.
Former presidential candidate Henrique Capriles said he was concerned authorities may be tempted to plant evidence to incriminate them.
Venezuela's superagency the Constituent Assembly announced on Wednesday it was stripping Borges and Requesens of their parliamentary immunity, as the president accused the opposition of being behind an alleged assassination attempt against the president on Saturday.
The government said 7 soldiers were injured after two explosive-laden drones blew up in the confines of a military parade at the weekend.
Borges accused Maduro of "a set-up to persecute and convict anybody that opposes your dictatorship."
The National Assembly said it would resist any attempt to remove its members' immunity – but it has been left powerless by what the opposition described as a Maduro "coup."
Maduro created the legislative Constituent Assembly – now the nation's top authority – a year ago to effectively replace the opposition-dominated National Assembly.
Although the National Assembly is the only body under Venezuela's constitution with the power to lift the immunity of individuals, it has been left impotent while the Constituent Assembly, filled exclusively with Maduro loyalists, reigns supreme. – Rappler.com