Rights advocates: Venezuela releases prisoners

Human rights advocates in Venezuela say 16 jailed activists considered by government opponents to be political prisoners have been released.

Attorney Laura Valbuena of the rights group Foro Penal said Friday that four additional detainees could soon walk free. She said officials arrested them this year while protesting power outages.

President Nicolas Maduro a day earlier called for some prisoners to be released during a speech celebrating his re-election.

He urged pro-government lawmakers to let those detainees go in a gesture to reunite politically fractured Venezuela.

Foro Penal director Alfredo Romero says the government still holds 354 people who Maduro's foes consider political prisoners.

Romero says that in the last several days, officials arrested 25 other critics of the socialist administration, many from the ranks of Venezuela's military.