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US Condemns Venezuela for Alleged Involvement in Death of Opposition Activist 


Mourners stand next to the coffin of the opposition lawmaker Fernando Alban during his wake in Caracas, Venezuela, Oct. 10, 2018.

The U.S. denounced Wednesday what it said was the Venezuelan government's participation in the death of opposition activist Fernando Alban.

The White House said in a statement the U.S. would continue to pressure the government "until democracy is restored in Venezuela."

The White House also called for "the immediate release of all Venezuelan political prisoners, and for the Maduro regime to take direct, credible steps to re-establish democracy in Venezuela and to prevent further suffering and bloodshed."

At the State Department, deputy spokesperson Robert Palladino said the U.S. would like to have "more information" on Alban's death, while extending Washington's condolences and sympathy to him and his family.

"That tragedy highlights a continuing pattern of human rights abuses in that country, repression, and excessive use of force," said Palladino in his first briefing on Wednesday.

Alban was a Caracas City Council member who was accused of being involved in an unsuccessful drone attack on President Nicolas Maduro. Alban was in pre-trial detention Monday when he died after falling from a window.

Venezuelan authorities said Alban committed suicide.

The U.S. imposed new sanctions on Maduro's wife and several of Maduro's allies in late September, as President Donald Trump urged the United Nations to support a restoration of democracy in the oil-rich nation.

The sanctions increase pressure on a government that has been widely criticize for the collapse of its economy and efforts to undermine democracy.

State Department correspondent Nike Ching contributed to this report.