A government opposition leader in Venezuela who formerly served as a lawmaker in the country's government has been sentenced to 8 years in prison after he was convicted of being involved in an alleged assassination attempt on President Nicolas Maduro using drones containing explosives.
Juan Requesens is accused of allegedly being involved in a plot to assassinate Maduro after two drones exploded over a 2018 event attended by Maduro, according to Requesens' lawyer who announced the sentence on Thursday, Reuters reported.
Requesens was one of 17 people sentenced over the incident.
According to the BBC, he was arrested three days after the 2018 explosions when the explosive devices attached to the drones were detonated over a military parade attended by Maduro on Aug. 4 of that year in Caracas.
President Maduro was not hurt. Requesens, an outspoken critic of Maduro and his regime, denies any involvement in the incident.
Requesens is a former student protest leader who became widely known after organizing anti-government protests in 2014, giving compelling speeches where he promised to try and remove Maduro from the presidency.
Video purporting to show the drones exploding in the alleged attack was shared worldwide as they were shared on social media. The authenticity of the videos could not be verified. Images on Venezuelan state media showed troops in the parade running.
En este video de @CESGUAR se ve el momento de la explosión de uno de los drones, hecho ocurrido este sábado en la avenida Bolívar de #Caracas pic.twitter.com/0VEHmzSSab— El Pitazo (@ElPitazoTV) August 5, 2018
CNN reported that some believed at the time that the government created the incident to drum up support.