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Venezuelan court orders trial of Chavez opponent

Associated Press Modified: January 28, 2011 at 10:35 pm •  Published: January 28, 2011

CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — A Venezuelan court has ordered an opponent of President Hugo Chavez to be tried on charges of hiding explosives in his home.

Alejandro Pena Esclusa called the case a politically motivated vendetta, saying in a statement that he is a "victim of a plot by the Venezuelan government" in response to his vocal criticisms.

The attorney general's office said Friday that a Caracas court ordered the case to go to trial.

Pena was arrested July 12. Authorities said agents who raided his apartment found about 100 detonators and 2 pounds (900 grams) of C-4 explosives.

He has called the charges preposterous, saying authorities planted explosives in his 8-year-old daughter's desk drawer.

It's unclear when his trial could begin.