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19th November 2016, 08:33:51 UTC

The release of a prominent Venezuelan opposition leader unfairly imprisoned since 2014 as punishment for his human rights work must mark a profound shift in the government’s approach to dissent and freedom of speech, said Amnesty International.

Rosmit Mantilla, Member of Parliament, human rights activist and prisoner of conscience was released after spending more than two years in pre-trial detention at the Bolivarian National Intelligence Service facilities in Caracas.

“Rosmit’s long awaited release is great news for human rights in Venezuela. He should have never been made to spend a second behind bars. The Venezuelan authorities must now build on this positive step and release all imprisoned activists and political leaders whose only ‘crime’ was to disagree with the government,” said Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas Director at Amnesty International.

Rosmit Mantilla is an activist for the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people (LGBTI) and a member of the opposition party Voluntad Popular.

He was accused of receiving money to finance anti-government protests that took place between February and July 2014. The only evidence against him appears to be an anonymous testimony