Venezuela's Assembly fires dissident prosecutor

| Updated: Aug 23, 2017 11:20 IST

Caracas [Venezuela], August 6 (ANI): Venezuela's chief prosecutor has been fired and ordered to stand trial less than a day after a newly elected legislative body was installed to strengthen President Nicolas Maduro's grip on power, the Washington Post reports. Since the opposition started protests in April, the prosecutor, Luisa Ortega Díaz, had become Maduro's main challenger from within the ruling socialist movement leading to the latter's loyalists moving to cordoning off her headquarters in a move signaling a swiftly widening crackdown on political dissent. Ortega Díaz had accused Maduro of human rights abuses and violations and also of fudging the results of last weekend's election of the new 545-member constituent assembly. In addition to firing Ortega Díaz, the Assembly ordered her to not leave the country and replaced her with a Maduro loyalist, Tarek William Saab. "Ortega Díaz didn't give the impression of being objective in her duties," the assembly's second vice president, Isaías Rodríguez, said. "This decision is not news. Everyone knew it was coming long before the ANC was installed." Following this, Ortega Díaz denounced the decision to remove her from the position of attorney general of the republic as a violation of the constitution. "We are just a tiny sample of what comes to anyone who dares to oppose the totalitarian way of governing," she said in a statement. "I will continue fighting for Venezuelans, for their liberties and rights, until my last breath." Ortega Díaz said that she was not inside her headquarters in central Caracas when troops surrounded the building, but that the members of her staff were trapped inside. Ortega Díaz said she was being targetted for calling out the government. "The attack comes because of the attitude I have assumed in defence of human rights and democracy," she said. "Because the government has committed serious violations, including arbitrary detentions, torture, cruel [and] inhumane treatment, the use of military justice to judge civilians and the planting of evidence." Ortega Díaz represents a political camp in Venezuela of leftist populists who have broken with Maduro. Ortega Díaz had, in an interview with The Washington Post, denounced the creation of the new Constituent Assembly - members of which include Maduro's wife and son - as "the birth of a dictatorship." (ANI)