Former Venezuelan Defense Minister Detained

Venezuelan authorities detained a former defense minister who has become a prominent critic of President Hugo Chavez, his defense lawyer said Thursday.

Retired Gen. Raul Baduel was detained by military intelligence agents on Thursday in north-central Aragua state, lawyer Omar Mora Tosta told the Venezuelan television channel Globovision. He said he doesn't know the reason for his detention.

Baduel was first detained by military prosecutors in October on suspicion of mismanaging government funds during his command. He maintains he is innocent.

Mora said Baduel had been scheduled to appear before a military court on Friday, and that "there was no need for such a hasty act."

Baduel distanced himself from Chavez in 2007 when he opposed the president's constitutional reform package, which was defeated at the polls.