Venezuela holds Guaido ally in pre-trial detention for 'terrorism'

Caracas (AFP) –


A Venezuelan judge on Thursday ordered a close ally of opposition leader Juan Guaido held in pre-trial detention on accusations of conspiracy, financing terrorism and trafficking weapons of war.

The Supreme Court of Justice accuses Roland Carreno, a journalist and top official in Guaido's party, of acting as a "financing operator" of "conspiratorial and terrorist plans" against the government of President Nicolas Maduro.

Carreno, a well-known former television presenter, was arrested on Monday. He appeared in a court that deals with terrorism cases late on Wednesday, with his hearing lasting until Thursday morning.

"He is tasked with carrying out logistical payments for terrorist groups that want to destabilize internal order and suspend parliamentary elections" slated for December 6, the Supreme Court said.

Carreno's lawyer described the accusations against him as "improbable."

Opposition leader Guaido has called for a boycott of the parliamentary elections labeling them a "farce."

Venezuela's National Assembly is the only government branch in opposition hands. Maduro is known to be desperate to regain control of the body and has used the loyalist Supreme Court to strip it of any effective powers.

The United States has already said it would not recognize the result of the upcoming election while the European Union has called for it to be postponed.

The Supreme Court said Carreno used non-governmental organizations as fronts to provide logistics for a failed military incursion by mercenaries in May and to help former opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez escape the country last week.

Lopez had been sheltering in the Spanish ambassador's residence since escaping house arrest in April.

Authorities claim they confiscated a firearm and $12,000 in cash from Carreno.