Chile welcomes Venezuelan judges after granting them asylum

October 19, 2017

Received by Chile's Foreign Minister Heraldo Munoz, second left, Venezuelan judges, from left, Jose Fernando Nunez, Elenis Rodriguez, Zuleima Gonzalez and Beatriz Ruiz, stand before journalists after their arrival to Santiago, Chile, Thursday, Oct. 19, 2017. The judges who were granted political asylum in August, had been residing in the Chilean diplomatic residence in Caracas. (AP Photo/Esteban Felix)

SANTIAGO, Chile (AP) — Chile is welcoming four Venezuelan judges who oppose the government of President Nicolas Maduro.

The judges appointed by Venezuela’s opposition-controlled National Assembly took refuge in the Chilean Embassy in Caracas in August and were later granted asylum.

They are among 33 judges sworn in July 21 by the National Assembly in defiance of Venezuela’s government-stacked Supreme Court. Venezuela’s highest court declared the appointments unconstitutional and said the judges could be arrested for illegally usurping power and betraying the nation if they took their new posts.

Chilean Foreign Minister Heraldo Munoz received the judges in Chile’s capital Thursday.

Munoz said the judges left Venezuela on their own by crossing the border with Colombia after Venezuela’s government failed to provide them safe conduct. A fifth judge is expected to join them later.

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