Maduro assassination plot suspect falls to death under murky circumstances

Adam Bensaid

10 Oct 2018

Venezuelan president’s critics accuse the government of murdering Fernando Alban after officials give contradictory statements regarding the events leading to his death.

A suspect in the attempted assassination of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro died under suspicious circumstances on Monday.

Venezuelan officials say that Fernando Alban, a 56-year-old councillor and Maduro critic, committed suicide after jumping out of the tenth-floor window of the Bolivarian Intelligence Service in Caracas.

Maduro’s detractors, however, have accused the regime of murdering Alban as part of a severe crackdown on opposition groups and human rights activists.

Alban was arrested on October 5 for his alleged involvement in the botched assassination attempt on August 4, when explosive-laden drones flew toward Maduro while he gave a speech at a military parade.

At least two explosions missed Maduro, who escaped unscathed, while seven national guard members were injured.

Contradictory statements

Venezuela’s interior minister Nestor Luis Reverol tweeted on Monday that Alban threw himself out of a window while being moved to court.

This narrative contradicts Venezuelan Attorney General Tarek William Saab’s statement. The AG said that Alban flung himself from the window after asking permission to go to the bathroom.

Alban’s lawyer Joel Garcia claims that Saab’s account is «totally false,» as Alban would not have been able to go anywhere unaccompanied, let alone to a bathroom of the most secure intelligence agency in the country.

Officials outside of Venezuela also decried Alban’s death. Luis Almagro, the secretary-general of the Organization of American States, tweeted that Alban’s death was a result of a «torturing and homicidal regime.”

Alban was one of several arrested by Venezuelan authorities in the sweeping crackdown following the attempt on the president’s life.

Maduro alleges there is a far-right plot to unseat him, and pinned the blame for the assassination on former Colombian president Juan Manuel Santos. Though Maduro claims to have evidence linking Colombia to the attack, he has yet to disclose it.

Colombia has denied all such allegations.

Human rights groups have accused Maduro’s administration of holding hundreds of political prisoners on false charges in an attempt to crack down on dissent.

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