Venezuela says opposition leader killed himself, supporters say he was murdered

Oct 15, 2018

A Venezuelan opposition councilman, who was detained over what officials say was a drone assassination attempt on President Nicolás Maduro in August, has committed suicide, the government says.

Fernando Albán

Fernando Albán jumped from the 10th floor of the building of the National Intelligence Service (SEBIN) where he was detained, Prosecutor General Tarek William Saab said last week.

“Alban requested to go to the bathroom and jumped from there,” said Saab to the Venezuelan state television (VTV), adding that an “exhaustive investigation” will be conducted to “determine and establish the causes of this unfortunate event.”

Interior Minister Nestor Reverol said via Twitter that the opposition politician had been detained at SEBIN since Oct. 5 for “destabilizing activities directed from abroad,” and had jumped from a window while waiting to be brought to court.

He added that the Scientific, Penal and Criminal Investigative Corps (CICPC) will work jointly with the Public Ministry in the investigation.

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Albán was a Caracas municipal counsellor for the opposition First Justice party, which says their member “was murdered at the hands of the regime of Nicolas Maduro.”

Protesters in Venezuela have accused the government of murdering the jailed opposition lawmaker, with crowds calling for justice gathered outside the building in Caracas.

During an outdoor ceremony on Aug. 4 to commemorate the 81st anniversary of Venezuela’s national guard in Caracas, two drones carrying explosives flew close to the presidential stand as Maduro was giving a speech and detonated.

Maduro was unharmed but several members of the military sustained injuries.

The authorities later blamed Venezuela’s opposition and Chile, Colombia, Mexico and the U.S. for the attack. All denied the claim.

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