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Prosecutor flees Venezuela, claims pressured into 'false' case against Lopez

Caracas, Venezuela.
Jeremy Woodhouse | Photodisc | Getty Images
Caracas, Venezuela.

A Venezuelan prosecutor who tried opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez has fled Caracas, claiming in a newly released video that the government of Nicolas Maduro pressured him into presenting false evidence against Lopez at trial.

The prosecutor, Franklin Nieves, posted a video denouncing the Maduro government, adding that he left the country because of heavy political pressure.

"I decided to leave Venezuela with my family as a result of the pressure being exerted by the executive branch and my superiors to continue defending the false evidence that condemned the citizen Leopoldo Lopez," said Nieves in Spanish, on a video posted on YouTube by news portal La Patilla. Nieves' remarks were translated by CNBC.

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"I couldn't sleep with the pain and pressure I felt of continuing with a farce that was violating Lopez's rights," he added.

CNBC was not able to immediately verify the authenticity of the video, or contact Nieves directly.

Nieves helped bring charges against Lopez, who was recently sentenced to nearly 14 years in prison. The opposition leader was convicted of conspiracy and of inciting violent protests against the government, which has been under pressure from an imploding economy and widespread civil unrest.

"I invite you to tell the truth, like I am in this moment," Nieves said in the video.

"I want to do the right thing and tell the truth. I want you to be brave, raise your voices and express your discontent with the pressure exerted by our superiors, who threaten us to fire us or putting us in jail, and that series of absurd arguments that they always use to threaten us to carry out their whims," Nieves said, appearing to address his fellow prosecutors and judges in Venezuela.

Last year, Lopez and other opposition leaders called for peaceful demonstrations against Maduro's and the Venezuelan government.

With declining oil prices, the economic and social conditions of the oil rich South American nation has rapidly deteriorated. Food shortages and hyperinflation have taken root as Venezuela's currency has plummeted.

Financial markets show investors are increasingly worried the country won't be able to pay its debts due to the country's precarious financial position. Yields on bonds issued by the Venezuelan goverment and the state run oil company PDVSA are some of the highest in the world.

Last week, the Venezuelan government predicted that inflation would be 85 percent in 2015 and 60 percent next year. Yet the country's central bank has not released inflation figures since December, when it reported it to be at 69 percent. For this year, the IMF estimates prices will surge by 158.1 percent.

Venezuela is projected to experience a deep recession for the remainder of 2015 and 2016, the IMF said in its World Economic Outlook.

As the economy continues to further deteriorate, political pressure is expected to keep mounting, according to analysts.

--CNBC's Michelle Caruso Cabrera contributed to this article.