CARACAS, Venezuela, July 28 (UPI) -- On Sunday, Dutch officials on the island of Aruba released Hugo Carvajal, a former Venezuelan military general who had been detained since July 23 at the request of U.S. officials on drug trafficking charges.
Carvajal returned to Venezuela following his release, and appeared publicly with Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro at a political event in Caracas later that day. Maduro condemned Carvajal's detention, alleging the former military intelligence head had been "illegally kidnapped."
Carvajal is wanted by the U.S. on charges of "materially assisting the narcotics trafficking activities of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC)."
Venezuelan officials maintained that Carvajal was protected from arrest by diplomatic immunity, having been nominated to serve as consul general in Aruba. Initially, Dutch officials disagreed, arguing that because Carvajal's diplomatic appointment had not yet been confirmed by Maduro, diplomatic immunity could not be applied.
Venezuela's Foreign Minister Elias Jaua asserted following Carvajal's release that Dutch officials ultimately admitted Carvajal was protected by diplomatic immunity.