Opponent of Hugo Chavez Imprisoned for Misusing Public Funds

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An opponent of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has been sentenced to two years in prison for misuse of public funds.

The Attorney General's Office says prosecutors found irregularities in contracts that Guillermo Call signed with universities in 2004 when he was governor of eastern Monagas state.

The 69-year-old Call is a longtime member of Democratic Action, an opposition party fiercely critical of Chavez.

Critics accuse prosecutors of bringing trumped-up criminal charges against Chavez opponents.

However several businessmen with links to the government also have been prosecuted for alleged involvement in a recent banking scandal.

The sentence was announced Tuesday. Call had pleaded not guilty.