Venezuelan attorney general faces charges for defying President Nicolas Maduro | News | DW | 21.06.2017
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Venezuelan attorney general faces charges for defying President Nicolas Maduro

Luisa Ortega, a major critic of Venezuelan President Maduro, faces charges that could remove her from her post. She has launched legal challenges to Maduro's plans to rewrite the constitution.

Venezuela's Supreme Court on Tuesday approved proceedings against Attorney General Luisa Ortega, which could lead to her removal.

The lawsuit against Ortega pertains to "alleged serious errors in carrying out her functions" and was brought by Socialist lawmaker Pedro Carrero. He accused Ortega of lying about judges and failing to respect the court's decisions.

Read more: South American nations divided on Venezuela crisis

Opposition leader Freddy Guevara said only the National Assembly could legally remove an attorney general and that lawmakers would resist such a measure. The legislature is controlled by the opposition party, but the high court has consistently overruled it the president's favor over the last year.

Ortega brought legal challenges against Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro's plan to rewrite the constitution, which the president's opponents believe is a ploy to cling to power as he faces violent protests against his government.

The ruling Socialists have called Ortega a "traitor" since March after she opposed an attempt by the Supreme Court, which has proven loyal to Maduro, to strip the National Assembly of its powers. She also brought charges against judges loyal to the president.

Backed by the opposition

The opposition voiced its support for Ortega on Tuesday. Parliamentary speaker Julio Borges said she was being "besieged by the dictatorship," adding the country was entering the decisive phase of the fight for democracy.

Read more: Venezuelan opposition decries security forces as 'state terrorists' following raid

Opposition members also called Venezuelans to disobey the government.

"The current regime has sidestepped the constitution, therefore, its authority and decisions are unconstitutional," Borges said. "They cannot be recognized or obeyed by anyone."

The Public Ministry says at least 75 people have been killed since April in the daily protests by demonstrators demanding elections to remove Maduro from office.

dv/sms (AFP, dpa)

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