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South America

Venezuela's fugitive prosecutor claims proof of government corruption

The rule of law has died in Venezuela, said the country's ex-chief prosecutor Luisa Ortega. She has claimed to have damning evidence of widespread corruption in the government of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro.

Venezuela's former chief prosecutor Luisa Ortega said on Wednesday that her life is in danger after fleeing the country last week, adding that she would hold the Venezuelan government responsible if anything happened to her.

Speaking during a law enforcement conference in Brasilia with Brazil's attorney general, Ortega said she had damning evidence of corruption in Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro's government.

Read more: What is Venezuela's constituent assembly?

"I have a lot of proof," Ortega said. "The rule of law has died in Venezuela. The stability of the region is in danger."

Ortega was once a loyalist of Venezuela's socialist regime started by Maduro's predecessor, the late Hugo Chavez. However, she broke ranks with Maduro following the regime's bloody crackdown on anti-government protesters.

An all-powerful constituent assembly removed Ortega from her post after being voted in last month. On Wednesday, Brazil's attorney general, Rodrigo Janot, said the removal of Ortega was "an institutional rape" that eroded the independence of Venezuela's judiciary.

'Excessive violence'

Venezuela has witnessed the deterioration of the rule of law amid a government-led crackdown on the country's pro-democracy movement, which has systematically targeted opposition lawmakers.

Read more: Is Cuba really pulling the strings in Venezuela?

Maduro's government has failed to redress chronic shortages of food, medicine and basic supplies. Nearly 130 people have been killed and hundreds more injured or detained since April, when anti-government protests erupted in response to the Supreme Court's decision to strip the opposition-held legislature of power.

Last week, Maduro's government summoned Germany's ambassador to Venezuela after Berlin called for an end to "arbitrary arrests and excessive violence against the opposition."

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ls/sms (AP, EFE, AFP)

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