Latin America & Caribbean

Fernando Albán: Venezuela protests over jailed opposition lawmaker's death

Protesters outside the Sebin intelligence agency headquarters in Caracas, Venezuela. Photo: 8 October 2018 Image copyright AFP/Getty Images
Image caption Protesters in Caracas held a candle-lit rally, calling for justice

Protesters in Venezuela have accused the government of murdering a jailed opposition lawmaker who the authorities say killed himself.

Fernando Albán was detained over what officials say was a drone assassination attempt on President Nicolás Maduro.

Crowds calling for justice gathered outside the building in Caracas where he had been held prisoner.

The authorities say he took his own life by jumping from the 10th floor of the intelligence agency (Sebin).

The reported attack on Mr Maduro in August happened as he was speaking at a military event in Caracas, the capital. Seven soldiers were injured, officials say.

The authorities later blamed Venezuela's opposition and also Colombia for the attack. Both denied the claim.

How did Fernando Albán die?

He "requested to go to the bathroom, and when there he threw himself off the 10th floor", Attorney General Tareq Saad told Venezuelan state TV.

Interior Minister Nestor Luis Reverol said he had jumped from a window while waiting to be brought to court.

He said that Mr Albán had been investigated for "destabilising activities directed from abroad".

Image copyright EPA
Image caption Fernando Albán had been held at the Sebin headquarters

Mr Albán was a Caracas municipal counsellor for the opposition First Justice party.

In a statement, the party said their member "was murdered at the hands of the regime of Nicolas Maduro".

Enrique Capriles, also a party member and a former presidential candidate, was quoted as saying by AFP news agency: "Those of us who knew Fernando know that he could never have acted against his life,"

Reacting to the news, US Senator Bob Corker tweeted that the Venezuelan government should explain how the death had been allowed to happen.

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