Lilian Tintori, wife of Venezuelan political prisoner Leopoldo López, holds her daughter and the 2015 NED Democracy Award, which she accepted on behalf of her husband. Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee Ed Royce (R-CA, left) and ranking Democrat Eliot Engel (D-NY, right) both spoke at the Capitol Hill ceremony on May 15, 2015.
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The National Endowment for Democracy (NED) strongly condemns the prison sentence handed down yesterday by the 28th Trial Court of the Metropolitan Area of Caracas, Venezuela, condemning opposition leader Leopoldo López to 13 years and 9 months in prison.
“The NED stands in solidarity with Leopoldo Lopez at this very dark moment in Venezuela’s history,” said NED president Carl Gershman. “His conviction is a judicial travesty, an offense to all people of good will. By convicting Leopoldo López, the Venezuelan government has shown its contempt for the rule of law. We will not forget Leopoldo López, who is a prisoner of conscience. His courage is an inspiration to people throughout the world who believe in justice and human dignity.”
López was one of the recipients of NED’s 2015 Democracy Award, which was presented May 15 in the U.S. Congress and recognized the sacrifice of Venezuelan political prisoners. López’s award was accepted by his wife, Lilian Tintori, who said at the time, “To think differently is not a crime, to want a better Venezuela is not a crime, and to protest peacefully is not a crime, it is a right.”