Chavez foe held over 'corruption'

Ally-turned-critic of Venezuelan president calls graft charges "political persecution".

    Baduel, left, is a former close ally of
    Hugo Chavez [EPA]

    Baduel, a former close ally of Chavez who led an operation to rescue the president from a bungled coup attempt in 2002, became an outspoken critic of Chavez in 2007.

    He had warned voters against a constitutional reform that would have expanded his powers and allowed him to run for re-election indefinitely.

    Voters rejected the terms then but in February approved a constitutional amendment eliminating term limits for all elected officials.

    'Persecution' claims

    Military prosecutors had first arrested Baduel in October on suspicion of mismanaging government funds during his command.

    But Omar Mora Tosta, Baduel's lawyer, told the Venezuelan television channel Globovision that Baduel had already been scheduled to appear before the court on Friday and dismissed Thursday's arrest as a "hasty act".

    Baduel has said the charges are "political persecution" due to his fierce opposition to Chavez.

    Earlier this week Manuel Rosales, another opponent of Chavez and mayor of the city of Maracaibo, went into hiding to avoid what his supporters described as persecution as he also faces charges of illicit enrichment.

    SOURCE: Agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    How different voting systems work around the world

    How different voting systems work around the world

    Nearly two billion voters in 52 countries around the world will head to the polls this year to elect their leaders.

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    Russian-Saudi relations could be very different today, if Stalin hadn't killed the Soviet ambassador to Saudi Arabia.

    The great plunder: Nepal's stolen treasures

    The great plunder: Nepal's stolen treasures

    How the art world's hunger for ancient artefacts is destroying a centuries-old culture. A journey across the Himalayas.