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Venezuela election results may mean freedom for two political prisoners

For at least two politicians in Venezuela's legislative race, Sunday's results could mean freedom.

Opposition parties drafted four political prisoners to run in the hotly contested elections to focus attention on Venezuela's political detainees — and force the government's hand.

Venezuela's constitution gives parliament members immunity, and legal scholars said there was no reason the winners should not be released.

Two of the candidates lost, including a well-known judge. The two winners include Jose "Mazuco" Sanchez, the former security chief for the state of Zulia. Jailed since 2007, Sanchez is accused of murdering a member of the Directorate of Military Intelligence. Sanchez has maintained his innocence and supporters say his real crime is being an ally of former presidential candidate Manuel Rosales, who is in exile in Peru.

The other prisoner turned parliamentarian is Biagio Pilieri, a former mayor who was elected to represent the state of Yaracuy. Pilieri has been detained for more than a year on charges he misused funds. Although he was absolved by the courts, he remains behind bars.

The National Electoral Council, CNE, confirmed Sanchez's election for the state of Zulia, but Pilieri's name was not on the roster of new representatives.

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