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Jailed Venezuela opposition leader Lopez refuses to go to court, citing hunger strike


CARACAS, Venezuela — Jailed Venezuelan opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez is refusing to attend his court dates, citing his deteriorating health due to 17 days of fasting.

Lopez has been on a hunger strike since May 24. His attorney Juan Carlos Gutierrez said that on Wednesday the former mayor declined to leave his cell to attend a court date.

Lopez has been jailed for 15 months on charges related to a sometimes bloody 2014 anti-government protest movement.

Gutierrez says Lopez is stable and conscious, but has lost more than 20 pounds. Officials have not confirmed his fast.

He declared the hunger strike together with fellow jailed leader Daniel Ceballos in part to demand the scheduling of legislative elections.

Venezuelan Episcopal Conference president Diego Padron said Wednesday that Ceballos is having trouble with his kidney.

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