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Venezuelan leader rules out amnesty for "political prisoners"

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Caracas, Dec 30 (EFE).- Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro said he would not grant amnesty for any of the country's "political prisoners," but said the courts could rule such humanitarian measures.

"I have the authority to order pardons for (people convicted of) crimes," on condition that no "crimes against humanity" are involved, the head of state told a press conference.

Maduro maintains that the Bolivarian Revolution, as he calls the administration of his predecessor and mentor, Hugo Chavez, and his own that began 8 months ago, "has been generous with its adversaries and will always continue to be that way."

He recalled that Chavez, who died in March after a long battle with cancer, granted a number of amnesties during his 14 years in office, the last on Dec. 31, 2007, and released from prison some of those implicated in the abortive April 2002 coup.

Chavez, Maduro said, "pardoned them one by one," allowing many of them to become candidates for public office.

Among them he named opposition leader and two-time presidential candidate Henrique Capriles, implicated together with other anti-Chavistas in the siege of the Cuban Embassy during the height of the putsch and the kidnapping of ministers of a government apparently ousted.

"How ungrateful!" Maduro said, adding that the Chavez government and his own "have never had an opposition loyal to democracy."

Maduro also named Ivan Simonovis, one of the police chiefs sentenced to 30 years for some of the 19 deaths during the coup.

Another two police chiefs given the same sentence benefited recently from a humanitarian court ruling and were released, Maduro recalled, and suggested that Simonovis could receive the same pardon, but not from him.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/agencia-efe/131230/venezuelan-leader-rules-out-amnesty-political-prisoners