Opposition Venezuelan politician dies in jail

  • Opposition Venezuelan politician dies in jail

Opposition Venezuelan politician dies in jail

Fernando Alban was arrested last week for alleged involvement in the explosion of two drones during a military parade that was led by President Nicolas Maduro which injured seven soldiers in August.

Staff members of jailed councilman Fernando Alberto Alban Salazar embrace outside the Bolivarian National Security Service (SEBIN) headquarters in Caracas, Venezuela, Monday, Oct. 8, 2018.

Venezuela's Attorney General William Saab told state television VTV that Alban threw himself from a tenth-floor window on Monday at the headquarters of the intelligence service, where he had been in pre-trial detention.

The councilman would appear later in the day before the courts for alleged involvement in the failed assassination attempt against Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro in August.

"We are concerned about news of his death, and also concerned about the fact that he wasn't presented to a judge within 48 hours which is the requirement under Venezuelan law", United Nations human rights spokeswoman Ravina Shamdasani told a Geneva news briefing.

The government had previously given no reason for his arrest.

Fernando Alban was arrested Friday at Caracas' worldwide airport upon arrival from a trip to NY to galvanize world opinion against President Nicolas Maduro's socialist government.

The opposition claims that more than 100 Venezuelans opposed to Maduro are being held as "political prisoners", some for more than four years, with little access to the outside world and their legal rights routinely trampled on.

"Those of us who knew Fernando know that he could NEVER have acted against his life", he said on Twitter.

"They have tried to assassinate me today, and everything points to the Venezuelan ultra-right and the Colombian ultra-right", Maduro said the same day.

The regime said Alban, who was jailed last Friday, had committed suicide by jumping from the 10th floor of the state intelligence agency headquarters (SEBIN) where he was incarcerated.

Opposition leader Julio Borges said Salazar was a personal friend and cast doubts on the suicide claim.

The Organization of American States (OAS), a group of Western hemisphere countries, has condemned Alban's death.

"Alban is a very Christian person, with deep spiritual convictions that go contrary to a decision to take one's life", said lawyer Joel Garcia, who has represented Alban. Garcia said authorities can not determine that a death is a suicide without an investigation and he would ask to be present at the autopsy.

"This criminal dictatorship should leave Venezuela now", he tweeted.