Venezuelan authorities have released a dissent ex-general who was jailed on charges of inciting unrest after the country's disputed presidential election.

Retired Gen. Antonio Rivero said he would "take care of my health" as he was freed late Friday.

Opposition leaders said he was hospitalized Saturday with a respiratory infection and digestive problems following a 16-day hunger strike he undertook to protest his arrest.

Rivero remains accused of instigating violent protests following the April 14 presidential election, which the government says left at least nine people dead and dozens injured.

Opposition leaders say the charges are part of a crackdown on dissent after the narrow election win of Nicolas Maduro, the late Hugo Chavez' hand-picked successor.

They refuse to accept the result, accusing Maduro's side of fraud and voter intimidation.