United Nations calls for probe on death of jailed Venezuelan politician

Opponents of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro demonstrate in front of the SEBIN intelligence service where the government says opposition councillor Fernando Alban committed suicide

Opponents of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro demonstrate in front of the SEBIN intelligence service where the government says opposition councillor Fernando Alban committed suicide

Officials in Venezuela say a jailed councilman arrested on suspicion of involvement in a failed assassination attempt on President Nicolas Maduro has died of suicide.

Interior and Justice Minister General Nestor Reverol lamented the death of the politician who, he said, was "involved in destabilizing acts directed from overseas".

That account differed slightly from the one offered by Chief Prosecutor Tarek Saab, who said in televised statements that Alban had asked to use a bathroom and jumped from there.

"We become aware a few minutes ago of the suicide of the councilman", Tarek said on state television, referring to the member of the opposition Justice First party.

Opposition leader Julio Borges said Alban was a personal friend and that as a family man and devout Catholic he would never kill himself. It did not provide evidence for its charge or say how it believed he was killed.

"There are so many different reports and quite a lot of speculation on exactly what happened", said Ravina Shamdasani of the U.N.'s top human rights office in Geneva. On Monday, Mr Reverol said Mr Alban had also been investigated for "destabilising activities directed from abroad".

Luis Almagro, the head of the Organization of American States and a critic of Venezuela's government, called Alban's death "the direct responsibility of a torturing and homicidal regime". Corker was in Caracas on Monday to meet with government officials and the opposition to assess Venezuela's economic crisis.

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"And he didn't do it. And he didn't do it, he loved the country too much". The UN has said detainees are often subjected to ill treatment, including some documented cases that amount to torture.

Authorities have arrested at least 30 people linked to the drone explosions on August 2, which injured seven soldiers.

"The EU reiterates its call to the Venezuelan government to release all political prisoners", added EU spokeswoman Maja Kocijancic.

Jorge Millan, another Justice First legislator, said a delegation of lawmakers had immediately gone to SEBIN's headquarters to request answers on Alban, who was municipal counselor for a Caracas district.

While Venezuelans previous year saw dozens of youths killed in violent street battles with security forces, the death of activists or government opponents while in state custody is a fate more associated with the far deadlier, right-wing dictatorships that dominated much of South America in the 1970s.

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

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