Venezuela doctor accused of revealing state secrets


Supporters of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez attend a massive rally after he registered his candidacy for the upcoming presidential election.

Ana Maria Abreu, 51, a doctor working in the presidential palace in Venezuela, has been arrested on suspicion of revealing state secrets, authorities said.

Prosecutors have accused Abreu — who was detained last week — of leaking the South American country's political and military secrets over the past two years and said they could cause damage to the country, reported BBC News. She has worked at the presidential palace for 12 years, but is not President Hugo Chavez's personal physician.

The Public Ministry did not release any other details and said only that she had been "linked to the dissemination of confidential information between the year 2010 and 2012," according to the Associated Press. The ministry also said that this type of crime is punishable by seven to 10 years in prison.

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But the AP also reported that Chavez opponents are questioning Abreu's arrest, saying it has a "political tint" and appears to be retaliation against the doctor for being the sister-in-law of activist Rocio San Miguel, a government critic with an organization that monitors security and defense issues in Venezuela.

"This is a case that shows the arbitrariness of the Venezuelan justice system in this regime," Abreu's attorney, Theresly Malave, told CNN.

Malave also said that by not revealing what secrets the doctor allegedly revealed, it is impossible to mount a defense, according to CNN. Venezuela's presidential campaign season officially kicked off this week.

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Tagged: Venezuela.