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Calls grow for inquiry after suspect in Maduro plot dies in fall

By Sommer Brokaw
Calls grow for inquiry after suspect in Maduro plot dies in fall
Supporters of imprisoned Venezuelan opponents hold signs during a protest in front of the Intelligence Service building. Photo by Miguel Gutierrez/EPA/EFE

Oct. 9 (UPI) -- A suspect authorities say was behind a failed plot to assassinate Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has died after falling from a window, officials said.

Suspect Fernando Alban fell from a 10th floor window of the intelligence services building, where he was being held, Venezuelan government officials said.

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Officials arrested Alban Friday for involvement in the Aug. 4 attack in which drones exploded near where Maduro was giving a speech. The failed attempt injured seven soldiers, but not Maduro.

Venezuelan Interior Minister Nestor Luis Reverol tweeted Monday, "at the time the detainee was to be transferred to the court, finding himself in the waiting room of the [building], he threw himself through a window."

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Venezuelan Attorney General Tarek William Saab said Alban's death occurred as he was being transferred to court.

Maduro's opponents have accused his regime of killing Alban as part of a crackdown to silence critics.

Julio Borges, a national coordinator of the opposition party First Justice, of which Alban was a member, said Alban was killed and thrown from the building, PressTV reported.

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Officials outside Venezuela have called for investigation.

U.S. Senator Bob Corker said Alban's death was "disturbing" and called on the government of Venezuela "to ensure all understand how that could have happened."

"Deeply disturbed by the sudden death of Venezuelan opposition politician @albanfernando while in police custody," British lawmaker Alan Duncan tweeted. "Circumstances raise serious concerns. Investigation needed immediately. Raises deep suspicion about the ever more sinister nature of the Maduro regime."

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"It is the duty of the state to ensure the safety and physical integrity of all people in custody, so we now expect a thorough and independent investigation to clarify the circumstances of councilor Albán's tragic death," the European Union's diplomatic service said in a statement. "We also expect the Venezuelan government to respect the human rights of all those in custody."

Alban is one of several people arrested in relation to the assassination attempt. A military general, colonel and a dozen others were detained last month.

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