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Another Chavez critic jailed, this time a general.

Raul Isais Baduel

CARACAS- A former Venezuelan Defence Minister and critic of President Hugo Chavez has been sentenced to more than seven years in prison after being convicted of embezzlement and abuse of power.

Retired General Raul Isaias Baduel was sentenced to seven years, 11 months in prison and is barred from running for public office.

Baduel was tried on charges that 40 million bolivars – then worth US$18.6 million ($26.13 million) at the official exchange rate – went missing in 2006 and 2007 while he was Defence Minister.

Baduel has insisted he is innocent and dismissed the accusation as a politically motivated reprisal. In 2002, after the coup against Chavez, Gral. Baduel send  elite soldiers  to release him.

Baduel and Chavez were friends since the military school, but two years ago Baduel declared himseld as critic of Chavez, and that was the starting point of his road to imprisonment.

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