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El Salvador Grants Political Asylum

June 5, 2002

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SAN SALVADOR, El Salvador (AP) _ The Salvadoran government on Tuesday granted political asylum to Rear Adm. Carlos Molina Tamayo, one of several military officers who took part in a short-lived coup against Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez in April.

``The government of the Republic of El Salvador decided to grant asylum to the petitioner,″ the country’s foreign secretary said in a news release issued late Tuesday.

Molina Tamayo is under investigation for rebellion along with four other military officers and businessman Pedro Carmona, who became president for one day during the coup.

Carmona has been granted political asylum in Colombia.

The defendants argue they installed the interim government because they believed that Chavez had bowed to military pressure to resign.

Some Venezuelan lawmakers and Chavez supporters have urged prosecutors to formally charge Carmona and Molina Tamayo and, if necessary, seek their extradition.

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