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UN calls for probe into death of jailed Venezuelan lawmaker

Reuters , Tuesday 9 Oct 2018
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The U.N. human rights office on Tuesday called for an independent probe into the death of a Venezuelan opposition lawmaker whom authorities say killed himself jumping off an intelligence agency building but whose party say was murdered.

Municipal lawmaker Fernando Alban, 56, was jailed last Friday for alleged involvement in the explosion of two drones during a military parade in August that was led by President Nicolas Maduro, Interior Minister Nestor Reverol said.

In a Twitter post, Reverol said that while in the waiting room on the 10th floor of the headquarters of state intelligence agency SEBIN, Alban had jumped from the window to his death.

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

"We are concerned about news of his death, and also concerned about the fact that he wasn't presented to a judge within 48 hours which is the requirement under Venezuelan law," United Nations human rights spokeswoman Ravina Shamdasani told a Geneva news briefing.

"We do indeed call for a transparent, independent investigation to clarify the circumstances of his death. We understand there are conflicting reports on what exactly happened," she said.

The opposition First Justice party, for which Alban was a Caracas municipal counsellor, said he was murdered. It said that his arrest was due to statements he made at recent U.N. meetings in New York City denouncing humans rights violations in Venezuela.

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