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Venezuelan opposition leader freed after 2 years in prison

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Rosmit Mantilla20161118124720_l

Caracas, Nov 18 (IANS) Venezuelan opposition leader Rosmit Mantilla, who has been in prison since May 2014 charged with plotting subversive actions during the anti-government protests at the time, has been freed.

"Deputy Rosmit Mantilla is released. We are moving forward," the Mayor of Caracas Carlos Ocariz, who is also representative of the opposition alliance Democratic Unity Roundtable (MUD), in dialogue with the Venezuelan government, said on Twitter on Thursday.

"I wish to inform the country I signed my release papers a few minutes ago. Thank you Venezuela for the support," wrote Mantilla, in another tweet.

Later, a video containing Mantilla’s first statements, following his release, from a Caracas hospital where he was admitted days ago for several health issues, Efe news reported.

The deputy expressed his commitment to fellow Venezuelans going through uncertainty, to political prisoners, and to change.

He added that following two years in confinement he felt "stronger," and declared he will be at the National Assembly – Venezuela’s unicameral Parliament – on Tuesday to take oath as lawmaker.

A member of the Voluntad Popular (Popular Will, or VP) party headed by imprisoned leader Leopoldo Lopez, Mantilla underwent an emergency surgery Monday and is now recuperating.

The first openly gay Congressman in Venezuela, Mantilla was termed a symbolic political prisoner by the MUD and declared a prisoner of conscience in 2015 by rights organisation Amnesty International.

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