- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 10, 2018

The White House blamed the Venezuelan government Wednesday for the death of an outspoken opposition leader and called on the regime of President Nicolas Maduro to release all political prisoners.

“The United States condemns the Maduro regime’s involvement in the death of Venezuelan opposition councilman Fernando Albán,” said press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders. “Venezuelan authorities took Albán into custody on October 5, upon his return from the United Nations General Assembly, where he spoke to the world about the importance of returning democracy to the people of Venezuela. He died three days later while in the custody of Venezuela’s intelligence service.”

Venezuelan officials claim Mr. Alban threw himself out a 10th-floor window of the Secret Police (Sebin) headquarters, but opposition leaders vehemently disputed that account.

Mrs. Sanders said the U.S. “will continue to increase pressure on the Maduro regime and its insiders until democracy is restored in Venezuela.”

“The United States calls for the immediate release of all Venezuelan political prisoners, and for the Maduro regime to take direct, credible steps to reestablish democracy in Venezuela and to prevent further suffering and bloodshed,” she said.

Mr. Alban was a local councilman in Caracas. He traveled to New York for meetings during the United Nations General Assembly in late September, denouncing the Venezuelan socialist government for human rights violations and failed economic policies.

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