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A judge ruled on Thursday that Venezuelan opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez incited anti-government riots that rocked the streets of Venezuela and left more than 40 people dead over the course of three months in 2014, and sentenced him to 13 years and nine months in Ramo Verde military jail.
Lopez was arrested in February 2014, during the early part of the riots, and publicly called for peaceful resistance to the government of President Nicolas Maduro, Reuters reports. Prosecutors say his speeches sent subliminal messages of violence. The U.N., U.S. government, and several international rights groups have all called for Lopez's release, with U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Roberta Jacobson saying she was "deeply troubled" by the ruling.
Lopez served as mayor of the Chacao district of Caracas in 2008, and is a direct descendent of the sister of Simon Bolivar and Cristobal Mendoza, the first president of Venezuela. There were some clashes between the pro-Lopez and pro-Maduro camps outside of the Palace of Justice in Caracas where the trial took place, and the Telemundo network said its freelance correspondent, Daniel Garrido, was attacked and had his equipment stolen.
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