Two former US Green Berets were sentenced to 20 years in prison by a Venezuelan court Friday for their roles in an attack in May aimed at toppling President Nicolás Maduro.
Maduro’s chief prosecutor announced the surprise decision Friday night.
“THEY ADD THEIR RESPONSIBILITY FOR THE TRUTH,” Tarek William Saab announced on Twitter, adding that the proceedings will continue against dozens of other defendants accused of assisting in the raid. click on May 3.
Previous Green Berets attorneys, Luke Denman and Airan Berry, said they were barred from participating in secret proceedings in the prison Friday night for violating the right to a constitutional right of defense.
“Operation Gideon”; was launched from temporary training camps in neighboring Colombia in early May and left at least eight rebel soldiers dead while more than 60 others were jailed.
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Former Green Berets Jordan Goudreau, who runs a Florida-based security company called Silvercorp USA, has taken responsibility for the failed attack and hired two friends in his former army to prepare. for a small group of defected Venezuelan soldiers living in temporary camps.
Denman and Berry, both veterans of the United States, were found guilty of conspiracy, illegal arms sales, and terrorism. However, the men’s lawyers said the hearing was ruined by the irregularities.
Alonso Medina Roa said he was hired by the families of two Americans a month ago but has so far been barred from seeing or talking to his clients.
He added that Judge Máximo Marquez never informed him of the proceedings on Friday night at the SEBIN police headquarters, where the men are being held. Instead, they are represented by an attacking defender.
The incident sparked claims that US-backed opposition leader Juan Guaidó authorized Goudreau to pass a signed agreement to carry out the attack, by two of Guaidó’s political advisers. in the US done.
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The US has denied any role in the attack, but Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Washington would use everything it could to free men.
The incident took place in the context of hostility between Washington and Caracas. The Trump administration last year backed opposition leader Guaidó, who was recognized by 60 countries to overthrow Maduro as Venezuela’s legitimate president.
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Guaidó blamed Maduro for the economic and social collapse of the once rich nation, while the socialist leader, who is being wanted in the US on charges of drug terrorism, said Washington are using Guaidó to steal the nation’s huge oil wealth.
Associated Press contributed to this report.