Supreme court removes Caracas mayor for not stopping protests

Dhaka,  Sat,  19 August 2017
Published : 10 Aug 2017, 21:22:10
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Supreme court removes Caracas mayor for not stopping protests

US slaps new sanctions on six Venezuelans
CARACAS, Aug 10 (Agencies): Venezuela's Supreme Court has ordered the removal and imprisonment of a Caracas-area mayor for not obeying orders to shut down protests in his district.

David Smolansky is the fifth opposition mayor to be removed or jailed in little more than two weeks as President Nicolas Maduro attempts to consolidate his power by going after his enemies.

He was sentenced to 15 months in jail in a ruling Wednesday night.

Later on Wednesday, speaking from an undisclosed location, Smolansky rallied his people to protest to defend their district.

The former student activist had been one of the most-prominent leaders of four months of anti-government protests that have left at least 124 people dead and hundreds more injured or jailed.

Ramon Muchacho, mayor of the wealthy Chacao district of capital city Caracas, was also sacked on Tuesday, sentenced to 15 months in prison by the Supreme Court.

He appeared in a video shot from a secret location rallying supporters.

Meanwhile, the United States imposed new sanctions on crisis-hit Venezuela on Wednesday, targeting members of a controversial, all-powerful, loyalist assembly installed last week to bolster what Washington calls the "dictatorship" of President Nicolas Maduro.

The measures were aimed at six members of the so-called Constituent Assembly-among them the brother of late president Hugo Chavez-as well as a military officer in charge of security for the body, and a board member of the national electoral authority.

They added to previous US sanctions on Maduro himself-a rare step against a sitting head of state-imposed just before the assembly was elected on July 30 in a vote marred by violence, fraud allegations and an opposition boycott.

"President Maduro swore in this illegitimate Constituent Assembly to further entrench his dictatorship, and continues to tighten his grip on the country," US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in a statement.

"This regime's disregard for the will of the Venezuelan people is unacceptable, and the United States will stand with them in opposition to tyranny until Venezuela is restored to a peaceful and prosperous democracy."

The Venezuelan government reacted by saying the US was "making a fool of itself in front of the world."

It "doesn't respect any criterion, any basic principle of international law," Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza told state television. "Venezuela can't be sanctioned for anything, nor by anybody."
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