Venezuela’s government says Raul Baduel, who served as defence minister under Hugo Chávez, died due to the coronavirus.
Oct 13, 2021
The United Nations human rights office urged Venezuela to conduct an “independent investigation” into the death of jailed former minister Raul Baduel, a prominent dissident who was considered a political prisoner by the country’s opposition.
“We are deeply saddened by Raul Baduel’s death in detention,” the office, headed by UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet, said on Twitter on Wednesday.
“We call on #Venezuela to ensure an independent investigation, take all necessary measures to guarantee access to healthcare to detainees, consider alternative measures of detention & release all arbitrarily detained.”
Baduel was arrested in 2009 on corruption charges after falling out with the Socialist Party, eventually placed on house arrest and then re-jailed in 2017 for allegedly conspiring against Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro.
A retired general, he served as Venezuela’s defence minister under ex-President Hugo Chavez. But the relationship between the pair later fell apart after Baduel argued against a constitutional reform proposed by Chávez.
Two of Baduel’s sons also have been arrested over alleged conspiracy.
Raul Emilio Baduel has since been freed but Josnars Adolfo Baduel remains in detention, accused of taking part in the failed maritime invasion in May 2020 known as “Operation Gideon” that was aimed at overthrowing Maduro.
The country’s attorney general announced Baduel’s death on Tuesday, saying he died as a result of the coronavirus.
But Tarek Saab did not say whether he was hospitalised or in prison when he died. Baduel had been held at a Sebin intelligence police site.