Venezuela grants house arrest to PDVSA managers accused of leaking information

Feb 10 (Reuters) - Venezuela on Wednesday granted house arrest to two managers at state oil company Petroleos de Venezuela who were convicted on charges of divulging confidential information, a committee of their family members said in a statement.

Aryenis Torrealba and Alfredo Chirinos, from PDVSA’s supply and trading department, were sentenced to five years in prison just last week. They were arrested in February 2020 on allegations of leaking information to the U.S. government, which in 2019 sanctioned PDVSA to try to oust President Nicolas Maduro.

“We thank the relevant authorities who made good on this right we had clamored for, and we call on the national and international community to accompany us in the cause and not rest until we achieve the full freedom of our unjustly sentenced comrades,” the committee’s statement read.

The office of Venezuela’s chief prosecutor, which announced the sentence last week, did not immediately reply to a request for comment.

Torrealba’s and Chirinos’ relatives have said the two are innocent, and were being singled out for speaking out against corruption within PDVSA.

The OPEC nation’s oil output has collapsed to less than 500,000 barrels per day (bpd), down from more than 2 million bpd when Maduro took office in 2013, due to years of underinvestment and mismanagement and, more recently, the sanctions. (Reporting by Luc Cohen in New York Editing by Marguerita Choy)