Germany accuses Maduro of holding Venezuelans 'hostage'

Germany has accused Venezuela's president of holding the country's population as "hostages" in his battle with parliament.

Venezuela's Supreme Court, which was stacked by the government of President Nicolas Maduro, has taken away the remaining powers of congress, prompting widespread international criticism.

German government spokesman Steffen Seibert on Friday urged the country to "return to democratic principles and the separation of powers."

He told reporters in Berlin that "it is intolerable how President Maduro is making the population of his country hostages to his own power ambitions."

In Spain, Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy tweeted that "if the division of powers is broken, then democracy is broken." Rajoy expressed support "for freedom, for democracy and the rule of law in Venezuela."