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Venezuela faces calls for probe after opposition activist dies in custody

AFP  |  Caracas 

faced calls internationally Tuesday for a "transparent investigation" into the death in custody of an opposition member who the said threw himself from a 10th floor window of the headquarters of the

Fernando Alban, a city accused of taking part in a failed drone attack on Nicolas Maduro, was in pretrial detention Monday at the time of his death, which the presented as a suicide.

General said on state television that Alban, who had been arrested on Friday, asked to go to the restroom and threw himself from a window.

The death sparked expressions of concern by the and the European Union, both of which called for a probe.

The Maduro has "an obligation to ensure (Alban's) safety, personal integrity and dignity," a for the UN human rights office in Geneva,

Ravina Shamdasani, told reporters.

"We are concerned about of his death... We do indeed call for a transparent investigation to clarify the circumstances of his death," she added.

In a statement, the also demanded "a thorough and independent investigation" to clarify the circumstances of Alban's "tragic death."


"The EU reiterates its call to the to release all political prisoners," added EU

Alban's party, First Justice, blamed the government for the death.

"We hold Maduro and his regime of torture responsible," it said in a statement.

Alban was among at least 15 people arrested and charged for alleged participation in the August 4 drone incident which Maduro has portrayed as an assassination attempt.

The Venezuelan was seen reacting on live television to an off-camera explosion while he addressed a military parade in

A second explosion was heard and then the assembled troops were seen breaking formation and scattering in panic.

Maduro said the blasts were from explosives-laden drones sent to assassinate him, though opposition figures accuse Maduro of fabricating the incident to step up repression in his country, which is suffering an economic crisis.

Maduro has blamed the drone attack on First Justice founder Julio Borges, who now lives in exile in Borges said on the "cruelty of the dictatorship ended the life of Alban."

The general promised a thorough investigation.

The visiting US of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Bob Corker, said on that the government had a "responsibility to ensure all understand how that could have happened." Former Henrique Capriles, also a First Justice member, said the was responsible.

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

The city councilman's lawyer, Joel Garcia, told reporters it was too soon to confirm whether the case was a suicide.

General lamented the death of the who, he said, was "involved in destabilizing acts directed from abroad."

accuses its neighbor of shielding the authors of the alleged assassination attempt.

The US in August condemned alleged arbitrary detentions and forced confessions by the in its investigation of the drone incident.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Tue, October 09 2018. 20:15 IST
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