Chavez opponents question doctor's arrest
July 3, 2012 -- Updated 1555 GMT (2355 HKT)
- Ana Maria Abreu de San Miguel is facing charges of leaking state secrets
- The government has not said what secrets were stolen
- The government makes no mention of President Chavez's health condition
(CNN) -- Opponents of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez are questioning the arrest of a medical doctor accused of leaking state secrets.
Ana Maria Abreu de San Miguel, 51, was arrested last week for allegedly sharing state secrets. The public ministry announced the arrest on Monday.
The government did not specify what secrets Abreu allegedly leaked, but said it happened between 2010 and 2012.
"This is a case that shows the arbitrariness of the Venezuelan justice system in this regime," the doctor's attorney, Theresly Malave, told CNN affiliate Globovision.
'City of dreams' under construction
Chavez secrecy leaves Venezuela on edge
Abreu is the sister-in-law of Rocio San Miguel, a vocal Chavez critic.
The announcement regarding the arrest made no mention of the health condition of Chavez, who is battling cancer.
The public ministry's release only states the potential sentences for the allegations against Abreu, without naming the allegations themselves. Revealing political or military secrets affecting state security is a crime punishable by seven to 10 years, the ministry said. The punishment is more severe if the leaked information causes diplomatic problems between Venezuela and other countries, the ministry said.
Finally, the sentence can be even longer if the secret information was obtained through one's position as a government employee, the ministry said.
Malave said that her client was a lower-level government employee who worked mostly with the needy, providing them with prescriptions. Abreu's office is not inside the presidential palace, and she has no access to the palace, or the military or anyone who may hold state secrets, the attorney said.
She said that Abreu was targeted because her relative is a fierce Chavez opponent.
"Just because Dr. Ana Maria has the last name San Miguel doesn't mean she's working there, trying to obtain secret information," Malave said.
By not revealing what secrets the doctor allegedly stole, it is impossible to mount a defense, she said.
The country's presidential campaign season officially kicked off this week.
Today's five most popular stories
Part of complete coverage on
February 6, 2013 -- Updated 1526 GMT (2326 HKT)
Advocates say the exam includes unnecessarily invasive and irrelevant procedures -- like a so-called "two finger" test.
February 6, 2013 -- Updated 0009 GMT (0809 HKT)
Supplies of food, clothing and fuel are running short in Damascus and people are going hungry as the civil war drags on.
February 6, 2013 -- Updated 1801 GMT (0201 HKT)
Supporters of Richard III want a reconstruction of his head to bring a human aspect to a leader portrayed as a murderous villain.
February 5, 2013 -- Updated 1548 GMT (2348 HKT)
Robert Fowler spent 130 days held hostage by the same al Qaeda group that was behind the Algeria massacre. He shares his experience.
February 6, 2013 -- Updated 0507 GMT (1307 HKT)
As "We are the World" plays, a video shows what looks like a nuclear attack on the U.S. Jim Clancy reports on a bizarre video from North Korea.
The relationship is, once again, cold enough to make Obama's much-trumpeted "reset" in Russian-U.S. relations seem thoroughly off the rails.
Ten years on, what do you think the Iraq war has changed in you, and in your country? Send us your thoughts and experiences.
February 5, 2013 -- Updated 1215 GMT (2015 HKT)
Musician Daniela Mercury has sold more than 12 million albums worldwide over a career span of nearly 30 years.
Photojournalist Alison Wright travelled the world to capture its many faces in her latest book, "Face to Face: Portraits of the Human Spirit."
February 6, 2013 -- Updated 0006 GMT (0806 HKT)
Europol claims 380 soccer matches, including top level ones, were fixed - as the scandal widens, CNN's Dan Rivers looks at how it's done.
February 6, 2013 -- Updated 1237 GMT (2037 HKT)
That galaxy far, far away is apparently bigger than first thought. The "Star Wars" franchise will get two spinoff movies, Disney announced.
July 25, 2014 -- Updated 2327 GMT (0727 HKT)
It's an essential part of any trip, an activity we all take part in. Yet almost none of us are any good at it. Souvenir buying is too often an obligatory slog.