The Sindicato Nacional de Trabajadores de Prensa (SNTP) [National Syndicate of Press Workers], Venezuela’s largest journalism union, warned today that it had received reports that press workers were being threatened over their coverage of the Fernando Alban case.
Earlier today, the SNTP posted the following message on its Twitter account:
We know of threats made against journalists who have reported the truth about the death of councilor Fernando Alban. We have been informed of intentions [by the authorities] to detain those who have published information about the event. The entire field of journalism is in a state of alert.
Alban died on Monday while in the custody of the regime’s political police, the SEBIN. According to the official version of events, Alban somehow jumped out of a 10th storey window in the SEBIN’s Plaza Venezuela offices.
However, inconsistencies with the regime’s version of the death, combined with assertions from Alban’s friends and relatives that he would never have killed himself, have cast serious doubts on the official story, and suggest that Alban was in fact murdered by the authorities.
Attorney General Attempts Backtrack On “Washroom” Detail
News of Alban’s death first broke on Monday afternoon from Attorney General Tarek William Saab, who announced the event during a call to the VTV state-owned television channel. During the press conference, Saab said that Alban had jumped out of a bathroom located on the 10th storey of the SEBIN’s headquarters in Plaza Venezuela.
The preliminary version… is that [Alban] asked to go to the bathroom, and once there, jumped out [of the window] on the 10th floor.
Saab’s version of Alban’s death was contradicted a short while later by Minister of the Interior Nestor Reverol, who said later that same afternoon that Alban was actually in a waiting room, not the bathroom, when he jumped out of the window.
The contradiction in the two officials’ stories fanned early doubts about the suicide theory.
In a press conference earlier today, Saab attempted to take back his bathroom theory by simply denying that he ever made it. During a press conference today, Saab said:
No one has ever said that he jumped out of the bathroom [window].
Saab attempted to sidestep his earlier comment by suggesting that what he had meant to say was that Alban was in a waiting room, asked to go to the bathroom, and on his way there–but before reaching it–jumped out of a window.
Alban’s Lawyer Fears Travel Ban
Joel Garcia, Fernando Alban’s lawyer, told reporters today that he received reliable information suggesting that a judicial ban prohibiting his exit from the country was in effect.
Garcia said that he considered the order to be an attempt at intimidating him into silence, given that he has publicly refuted the regime’s version of his client’s death, and has instead asserted that the authorities killed Alban.
Garcia said today that there was no way for him to confirm the information that he received unless he were to attempt to leave the country. Only at that time would migration officials reveal to him whether or not he can leave Venezuela.
One of the Maduro regime’s most popular forms of reprisal against dissidents is the judicial ban prohibiting departure to the country.
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