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Venezuela assigns prosecutors to probe ‘traitors’

Venezuelan authorities have assigned two prosecutors to probe alleged acts of treason by citizens who supported the US’ latest round of economic sanctions against the South American nation.

“We’ve assigned two prosecutors who are going to investigate these actions,” Attorney General Tarek Saab said on Thursday.

Speaking two days after the National Constituent Assembly (ANC) issued a decree to initiate a “historic trial” of those suspected of committing treason by supporting the sanctions, Saab said the probe also would focus on those who allegedly called for an outside military intervention.

In a press conference, the Attorney General underscored the severity of the allegations against the opposition, which supported the sanctions but rejected US President Donald Trump’s remarks indicating he was weighing a possible “military option” to lift Venezuela out of its deep political and economic crisis.

Last week, Trump signed an executive order that bars dealings in new debt and equity issued by the Venezuelan government and that nation’s state oil company, PDVSA.

The measure also “prohibits dealings in certain existing bonds owned by the Venezuelan public sector, as well as dividend payments to the government of Venezuela”.

The US, which had earlier imposed sanctions on top Venezuelan officials, applied those measures after the installation of the ANC, a plenipotentiary body made up only of President Nicolas Maduro’s allies.

Inaugurated early this month after a process boycotted by Maduro’s opponents, the ANC has assumed the functions of the unicameral legislature, the National Assembly, the only institution under the opposition’s control.

Maduro has touted the ANC as necessary to lift Venezuela, which had been racked by months of violent opposition-led protests, out of political deadlock and a deep economic crisis.

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