Venezuela's top court targets opposition lawmakers

Venezuelan Bolivarian National stand guard around the National Assembly building as the opposition-controlled congress met to discuss a move could provide political cover for greater international involvement in the nation's crisis, in Caracas, Venezuela, Tuesday, May 7, 2019. Military police prevented journalists from entering the National Assembly, and some reporters were harassed by government supporters outside the building.

ROME (AP) — Italy is confirming that a Venezuelan of Italian origin who is a member of the country's opposition-controlled National Assembly has taken refuge in the residence of the Italian ambassador.

The foreign ministry said Friday that Americo De Grazia was legitimately elected to the assembly and, despite enjoying parliamentary immunity, has been the subject of judicial proceedings that would result in his arrest.

The ministry said that in welcoming De Grazia into its Caracas residence, Italy was operating "in full conformity with diplomatic conventions."

De Grazia is one of several opposition members who have taken refuge in diplomatic missions amid a crackdown against opposition leaders campaigning to oust President Nicolás Maduro from power.

Italy's coalition government of the right-wing League and populist 5-Star Movement has declared itself neutral on Venezuela.

Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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