Leopoldo López is a Venezuelan opposition leader and democracy activist. He is the national coordinator of Redes Populares, a grassroots social-political organization that works with local leaders to develop public policies that address the key concerns of the Venezuelan people, and a primary leader of the Venezuelan opposition coalition Mesa de la Unidad. From 2000 to 2008, López was the mayor of the Chacao district of Caracas. In 2008, López was among more than 300 candidates barred without due process from running for public office by the state electoral tribunal. López won Transparency International's Award for the most transparent municipality in Venezuela in 2007 and 2008.
In 2014, López called on millions of people to peacefully take to the streets of Venezuela to protest against crime, an increasing shortage of basic goods, disenfranchisement of the opposition, and to call for the resignation of President Nicolás Maduro. In February 2014, López was arrested in Caracas while leading a peaceful demonstration and charged with arson and conspiracy. In September 2015, López was charged with public incitement and criminal activity and was sentenced to nearly 14 years in prison. Venezuelan courts dismissed his appeal in August 2016 and rights activists and international leaders across the globe recognized López as a prisoner of conscience and called for his immediate release. In July 2017, after three and a half years of incarceration in a military prison, Lopez was transferred to house arrest. HRF has called for the Maduro regime to withdraw Lopez’s criminal conviction and unconditionally release him.