World

Venezuelan protest leader Lopez to skip trial until appeals court rules on UN call for release

  • FILE - In this Feb. 26, 2013 file photo, opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez gives a press conference in Caracas, Venezuela. Lopez says he will skip his own trial to draw attention to a United Nations request for his freedom. He has been jailed since February for his role in the street demonstrations that shook the socialist country earlier this year. He faces charges of inciting violence. (AP Photo/Ariana Cubillos, File)

    FILE - In this Feb. 26, 2013 file photo, opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez gives a press conference in Caracas, Venezuela. Lopez says he will skip his own trial to draw attention to a United Nations request for his freedom. He has been jailed since February for his role in the street demonstrations that shook the socialist country earlier this year. He faces charges of inciting violence. (AP Photo/Ariana Cubillos, File)  (The Associated Press)

  • FILE - In this July 23, 2014 file photo, life-size cardboard cutouts of opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez, placed by his supporters, stand outside the Justice Palace as his trial begins in Caracas, Venezuela. Lopez gave an impassioned speech in court Tuesday, Nov. 18, 2014 saying he would waive his right to be present at hearings until an appeals court rules on whether to comply with U.N. calls for his freedom. Lopez has been jailed since February for his role in the street demonstrations that shook the country earlier this year. He faces charges of inciting violence. (AP Photo/Fernando Llano, File)

    FILE - In this July 23, 2014 file photo, life-size cardboard cutouts of opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez, placed by his supporters, stand outside the Justice Palace as his trial begins in Caracas, Venezuela. Lopez gave an impassioned speech in court Tuesday, Nov. 18, 2014 saying he would waive his right to be present at hearings until an appeals court rules on whether to comply with U.N. calls for his freedom. Lopez has been jailed since February for his role in the street demonstrations that shook the country earlier this year. He faces charges of inciting violence. (AP Photo/Fernando Llano, File)  (The Associated Press)

  • Lilian Tintori, wife of opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez, left, and his mother, Antonieta Mendoza, look up to his cell and wave to him from the outer perimeters of the Ramo Verde prison, in Los Teques, Venezuela, Saturday, Nov. 15, 2014. Tintori was hoping for a visit with her husband, but was refused entry. A Venezuelan criminal court on Thursday denied the release of the opposition leader who is the head of the Popular Will Party and is charged with inciting violence at early demonstrations. (AP Photo/ Alejandro Cegarra)

    Lilian Tintori, wife of opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez, left, and his mother, Antonieta Mendoza, look up to his cell and wave to him from the outer perimeters of the Ramo Verde prison, in Los Teques, Venezuela, Saturday, Nov. 15, 2014. Tintori was hoping for a visit with her husband, but was refused entry. A Venezuelan criminal court on Thursday denied the release of the opposition leader who is the head of the Popular Will Party and is charged with inciting violence at early demonstrations. (AP Photo/ Alejandro Cegarra)  (The Associated Press)

Jailed Venezuelan opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez says he will skip his own trial to draw attention to a United Nations request for his freedom.

Lopez gave an impassioned speech in court Tuesday saying he would waive his right to be present at hearings until an appeals court rules on whether to comply with U.N. calls for his freedom.

The U.N. Working Group on Arbitrary Detentions and the body's top human rights official have urged his release.

Last week, the judge overseeing Lopez's case ruled that the U.N. finding was nonbinding, and merely a statement in favor of Lopez. His lawyers immediately appealed.

Lopez has been jailed since February for his role in the street demonstrations that shook the socialist country earlier this year. He faces charges of inciting violence.