Venezuela opposition lawmaker dies in prison

Venezuela opposition lawmaker dies in prison

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.

Members of Bolivarian National Intelligence Service (SEBIN) stand guard as mourners of the municipal lawmaker Fernando Alban gather outside its headquarters in Caracas, Venezuela on October 8, 2018.

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.

Ravina Shamdasani with the Office of United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights in Geneva said the U.N.'s Human Rights Council has mandated the human rights arm to do a report on Venezuela, but was unclear if the councilman's death would be covered in that report.

The Venezuelan government and the opposition have also disputed the reasons behind Alban's arrest.

Alban's First Justice party, a member of the opposition, called his death a murder.

The chairman of the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Senator Bob Corker, called on Maduro to explain the reasons for Alban's death.

Rights groups and the opposition have said that Mr Maduro's administration is holding hundreds of political prisoners on trumped-up charges meant to stifle dissent.

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Chief prosecutor Tarek William Saab ordered an investigation into the circumstances surrounding Alban's death, which he classified as a suicide.

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

The visiting United States 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".

The government has denied that it is detaining people as political prisoners and has said that they were fairly jailed.

The Organization of American States (OAS), a group of Western hemisphere countries, has condemned Alban's death. He then threw himself from the 10th floor of the building, the attorney general said.

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

"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.

Borges added that Alban was a devout Catholic and family man who would never consider killing himself. 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.

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