A Venezuelan court ruled in an initial hearing Wednesday that a former governor and presidential candidate must remain
in jail on charges that he conspired against the government by making false statements.
Family members and supporters of Oswaldo Alvarez Paz said his arrest Monday night was orchestrated by leftist President Hugo Chavez for political purposes.
"This was done to try to silence a person who has been very critical of this government for years," said Santiago Alvarez, the arrested politician's son.
Santiago Alvarez made the comments Wednesday morning outside the courtroom where his father was facing the hearing.
Alvarez Paz, a former governor of Zulia state and a 1993 presidential candidate, was detained two weeks after saying on the privately owned Globovision TV station that Venezuela has ties to Marxist rebels in Colombia and Spain and has become a base for drug trafficking.
Venezuelan prosecutors charged him with conspiracy, public instigation to commit a crime and spreading false information.