(Reuters) – Venezuela’s government said on Monday that a jailed opposition lawmaker killed himself by jumping from the 10th floor of the state intelligence agency headquarters (SEBIN) where he was being held, but his party said he was murdered by the government.
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.
“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,” Reverol wrote in a post on Twitter.
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.
The opposition First Justice party, for which Alban was a Caracas municipal counselor, said he was murdered.
“With great pain and thirst for justice we tell the people of Venezuela … that Councilman Fernando Alban was murdered at the hands of the regime of Nicolas Maduro,” the party said.
The party said that Alban’s arrest was owing to statements he made at recent United Nations meetings in New York City denouncing humans rights violations in Venezuela.
The chairman of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Senator Bob Corker, called on Maduro to explain the reasons for Alban’s death. Corker was in Caracas on Monday to meet with government officials and the opposition to assess Venezuela’s economic crisis.
“This is disturbing and the government has a responsibility to ensure all understand how that could have happened,” Corker, a Republican, said on Twitter.
The Organization of American States (OAS) condemned Alban’s death.
“Direct responsibility of a regime that tortures and murders. This criminal dictatorship must go now from Venezuela,” OAS Secretary General Luis Almagro said on Twitter.