Venezuela to strip immunity from lawmakers who backed coup bid

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Venezuela’s Constituent Assembly, which rules the South American country with absolute powers, plans to strip parliamentary immunity from opposition lawmakers who backed a failed uprising this week, leader Diosdado Cabello said Sunday.

“The prosecutor’s office opened its file, all the requests to lift parliamentary immunity are coming to the Constituent Assembly, as it should be, and... we will certainly raise our hands to remove parliamentary immunity from all those who actively participated in that act,” Cabello said.

On Tuesday, around 30 soldiers carried out a failed uprising against President Nicolas Maduro near La Carlota Air Base in Caracas in a move backed by opposition leader Juan Guaido, recognized as interim president by more than 50 countries.

Several deputies of the National Assembly, the only Venezuelan organ of power held by the opposition, backed Guaido, who presides over the body.

Guaido called Tuesday’s ultimately failed uprising the beginning of a “freedom operation” seeking to remove Maduro from power.

“Justice is going to come, there’s no doubt about that... let us not despair,” Cabello, considered Maduro’s right-hand man, said during a speech with activists of the ruling PSUV party in Caracas.

After the failed uprising, denounced by Maduro as a “coup-style skirmish,” some 25 soldiers took refuge at embassies, along with top opposition figure Leopoldo Lopez, freed from house arrest by Guaido supporters.

Lopez, who is under an arrest warrant, is staying at the Spanish embassy.

The Venezuelan prosecutor’s office requested 18 arrest warrants for civilians and soldiers who participated in the insurrection, chief prosecutor Tarek William Saab said Friday.

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