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NEWS / Latin America

Venezuela: Attorney General Luisa Ortega to face trial

Country's top court approves lawsuit request against government critic while Maduro sacks top military officials.

Venezuela's supreme court has approved proceedings against Attorney General Luisa Ortega who is accused of allegedly committing "grave errors" in her role as the nation's top law enforcement official.

The country's highest court accepted a lawsuit request against Ortega by a Socialist Party MP Pedro Carreno on Tuesday. 

Ortega, a strong critic of President Nicolas Maduro, has been called a "traitor" by the ruling Socialists since March when she opposed a bid by the Supreme Tribunal to strip the opposition-controlled National Assembly of its powers.

She has also launched legal challenges to Maduro's plans to rewrite the constitution, which critics view as another attempt to cling on to power as he faces increasingly violent protests against his government. 

READ MORE: Why I support Nicolas Maduro

Ortega remained defiant in the face of the high court's move, saying the ruling was an attack not against her but the very foundations of the Venezuela's democracy.

"Hanging over the country is a bleak outlook that could destroy the state," Ortega told Union Radio.

"We have to begin demanding that they start providing the bills of where all this money is coming from that that they spend on stages and for the marches."

Al Jazeera's Teresa Bo, reporting from the capital, Caracas, said: "Ortega cannot be removed from office without the support of the National Assembly, which is apparently controlled by the opposition."

Meanwhile, President Maduro fired four top military commanders and the head of the police on Tuesday, as protests continued in the capital. 

Maduro also announced the recruitment of 40,000 new police officers and national guardsmen, the BBC reported.

Opposition leaders placed cardboard coffins and body bags at the gates of the National Guard headquarters after the killing of another protester.

"The opposition is calling for more protests and civil disobedience," said Al Jazeera's Bo. "The crisis is far from over."

At least 75 people have been killed in the anti-government protests, which have continued almost daily since early April, according to the latest figures from Venezuela's Public Ministry.

The country has been facing widespread food and medicine shortage since 2014 when the price of oil crashed, depriving Caracas of a major source of revenue.

SOURCE: Al Jazeera and news agencies


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