Venezuela says suspected Maduro attack plotter kills himself

A mourner of the municipal lawmaker Fernando Alban holds a placard that reads

Alban, 56, was taken into custody Friday at Caracas' global airport upon arriving from NY, according to his lawyer.

"At the moment he was going to be transported to court, while he was in the SEBIN waiting room, he jumped from the window of the building and fell, causing his death", Mr Reverol wrote on Twitter.

The Maduro government has "an obligation to ensure (Alban's) safety, personal integrity and dignity", a spokeswoman for the United Nations human rights office in Geneva, Ravina Shamdasani, told reporters. He said Alban told him that he had been interrogated but not tortured.

The government had previously given no reasons for his arrest.

But his supporters say he was murdered - a theory echoed by the United States, a fierce critic of Maduro's regime.

Opponents of socialist Maduro say that Alban, a devout catholic and family man, could not have killed himself and accused authorities of covering up a murder.

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

While dozens of youths were killed in violent street battles with security forces previous year, the death of government opponents while in state custody came as a shock to many Venezuelans, something akin to the far deadlier, right-wing dictatorships that dominated South America in the 1970s that Maduro frequently denounces. "The only thing left for this government is torture, violence and destruction".

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.

The group was "detained during security raids known as Operations for the Liberation of the People - OLPs - which the government said were created to break up criminal gangs", Shamdasani said.

More than two dozen people have been jailed on suspicion of involvement in the alleged plot, which Maduro claims was orchestrated by Borges with the support of Colombia and the U.S.

Attorney General Tarek William Saab 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 authorities say he took his own life by jumping from the 10th floor of the intelligence agency (Sebin).

One of Alban's lawyers, Joel Garcia, told reporters that an autopsy conducted at the national morgue showed signs of severe trauma to the skull, chest, and hips as well as indications of a fall.

"We do indeed call for a transparent, independent investigation to clarify the circumstances of his death", she said.

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