Washington, DC - Secretary of State John Kerry: "The United States is deeply troubled by the conviction and sentencing of opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez. The decision by the court raises great concern about the political nature of the judicial process and verdict, and the use of the Venezuelan judicial system to suppress and punish government critics.

"Since Mr. Lopez’s arrest and imprisonment in February of 2014, we have underscored our concern with the charges brought against Mr. Lopez which we consider illegitimate and we have repeatedly called for his release and for the release of all Venezuelans who are imprisoned for political reasons. We call on the Government of Venezuela to respect the rights of all political prisoners; and to guarantee fair and transparent public trial, consistent with the American Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man, the Inter-American Democratic Charter, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and Venezuela’s Constitution."