The Tribunal Supremo de Justicia en el Exilio [Supreme Court-in-Exile], a shadow legal body that claims to be the legitimate top court of Venezuela, issued a ruling today sentencing Maduro to 18 years in prison for corruption.

The court-in-exile also fined Maduro $60 million dollars for the crimes of money laundering and corruption, and that he would not be able to run for office while he serves his sentence.

Because the court-in-exile has no way to enforce its ruling, the measure is purely symbolic and is unlikely to result in any kind of concrete action against Maduro.

The court-in-exile attempted to counteract this fact by saying that it would forward an arrest warrant to Interpol, as well as to Venezuelan law enforcement. Because Venezuelan law enforcement is squarely under the control of the ruling PSUV party, it is unlikely to abide by any such order.

While Venezuela is a member of Interpol, the organization is also unlikely to act against Maduro, given the operational and practical limitations of attempting to remove a sitting president from his country.

The head of the court-in-exile, Miguel Angel Martin, defended the ruling following its announcement by saying that it was not a politically-motivated affair. Martin said:

This has not been a political trial. Nicolas Maduro Moros was found guilty because he committed serious crimes that go way beyond enriching himself, his family and the people who accompanied him in [carrying out] these crimes.

The court-in-exile is made up of Supreme Court magistrates who were appointed to their chairs on July 21 of last year by the opposition-controlled National Assembly. After the Maduro regime declared their appointment illegal, it began to persecute the judges, forcing them to flee the country.

Questions/Comments? E-mail me: invenezuelablog@gmail.com

Note: Due to illness, I was not able to dedicate much time to the blog today. I apologize for this.

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