US calls for examination of causes of death of jailed former Venezuelan minister
WASHINGTON, Oct.14 (Reuters) – The US State Department on Thursday called for an independent examination to determine the true cause of death of former Venezuelan defense minister and retired general Raul Baduel, who is considered a political prisoner by the opposition.
Venezuela’s attorney general said on Tuesday that Baduel had died of cardio-respiratory failure linked to COVID-19.
“The recent death of Venezuelan political prisoner Raul Baduel reminds the world of the deplorable and dangerous conditions facing Venezuelan political prisoners in the custody of the Maduro regime,” State Department spokesman Ned told reporters. Price.
The United Nations human rights office also called on Venezuela to conduct a thorough and transparent investigation into Baduel’s death and to share the results with his family.
Neither the State Department nor the UN have explained why they believe an investigation is necessary into the cause of death.
Baduel’s family has made statements questioning the diagnosis of COVID-19, citing that he received the first dose of a coronavirus vaccine. Vaccines reduce the likelihood of death from COVID-19, but do not prevent their deaths.
Venezuela’s communications ministry and the attorney general’s office did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Attorney General Tarek Saab said on Tuesday that the ex-minister had received all necessary medical treatment.
Baduel was arrested in 2009 for corruption after falling out with the Socialist Party. He was eventually placed under house arrest and then returned to prison in 2017 for allegedly conspiring against Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro.
The ex-minister was transferred last month to a cell in Sebin’s intelligence police offices, which he shared with his son Josnars, who was arrested in May 2020 for allegedly participating in a failed raid aimed at to oust Maduro.
Price said Washington is calling for the immediate and unconditional release of all political prisoners in Venezuela.
Reporting by Simon Lewis and Chris Gallagher; Additional reporting by Vivian Sequera in Caracas, Julia Symmes Cobb in Bogota and Humeyra Pamuk in Washington; Written by Daphne Psaledakis; Editing by Rosalba O’Brien
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