Venezuela Judge Convicts 6 American Oil Execs, Orders Prison

Jesus Loreto, an attorney representing Tomeu Vadell, one of six U.S. oil executives jailed for three years in Venezuela, shows a letter written by Vadell, in Caracas, Venezuela, Wednesday, Nov. 25, 2020. In the letter provided exclusively to The Associated Press on Tuesday, Nov. 24, 2020, Vadell pleads for freedom, reflects on his past and shares the pain he feels over being separated from his wife, three adult children and a newborn grandson he's never held. (AP Photo/Ariana Cubillos)

(AP) – Defense lawyers for six American oil executives held for three years in Venezuela say a judge has found them guilty of corruption charges and immediately sentenced them to prison.

The judge’s ruling Thursday came with sentences of more than eight years for each. The verdicts dashed the hopes of relatives for a quick release that would send the men home to the United States.

The so-called Citgo 6 had been lured to Venezuela for three years ago for a business meeting and arrested. They are employees of the Houston-based Citgo refining company, which is owned by Venezuela’s state oil company, PDVSA.

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