Venezuela faced calls internationally Tuesday for a "transparent investigation" into the death in custody of an opposition member who the government said threw himself from a 10th floor window of the headquarters of the state intelligence services.
Fernando Alban, a Caracas city council member accused of taking part in a failed drone attack on President Nicolas Maduro, was in pretrial detention Monday at the time of his death, which the government presented as a suicide.
The death sparked expressions of concern by the United Nations and the European Union, both of which called for a probe.
"We are concerned about news of his death... We do indeed call for a transparent investigation to clarify the circumstances of his death," she added.
In a statement, the European Union also demanded "a thorough and independent investigation" to clarify the circumstances of Alban's "tragic death."
"The EU reiterates its call to the Venezuelan government to release all political prisoners," added EU spokeswoman Maja Kocijancic.
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.
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 Colombia. Borges said on Twitter the "cruelty of the dictatorship ended the life of Alban."
The attorney general promised a thorough investigation.
The visiting US chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Bob Corker, said on Twitter that the government had a "responsibility to ensure all understand how that could have happened." Former presidential candidate Henrique Capriles, also a First Justice member, said the Maduro government was responsible.
"Those of us who knew Fernando know that he could NEVER have acted against his life," he said on Twitter.
The city councilman's lawyer, Joel Garcia, told reporters it was too soon to confirm whether the case was a suicide.
Interior and Justice Minister General Nestor Reverol lamented the death of the politician who, he said, was "involved in destabilizing acts directed from abroad."
Venezuela accuses its neighbor Colombia of shielding the authors of the alleged assassination attempt.
The US in August condemned alleged arbitrary detentions and forced confessions by the Venezuelan government 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.)