The Organization of American States will request an autopsy on a Venezuelan dissident who died in custody.
The chairman of the Organization of American States (OAS) stated Thursday that he will request that the remains of a prominent Venezuelan dissident who died in detention be exhumed and an autopsy performed.
According to an official release earlier this week, General Raul Baduel, who allied with Venezuela’s late Hugo Chavez but then broke ties with the socialist strongman and spent years as a prominent political prisoner, died of Covid-19.
“The United Nations has a mission on the ground, and this autopsy is absolutely critical to addressing this case and determining any responsibilities that may exist in this regard,” Luis Almagro said after meeting with a lawyer for the Baduel family, Omar Mora Tosta, and representatives of Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido at the Organization of American States headquarters in Washington.
The head of the Organization of American States said he will take the matter to the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, whose office on Wednesday urged Caracas to ensure a “independent investigation” into Baduel’s death and called for the release of all those detained in Venezuela arbitrarily.
“For all of us who seek democracy, the release of all political prisoners is a moral, ethical, and legal duty,” Almagro stated.
He added that Baduel is the eleventh political detainee to die in captivity since Nicolas Maduro took office in 2013 following the death of Hugo Chavez.
Mora Tosta, for his part, requested the formation of an independent international commission to investigate the causes of Baduel’s death, claiming that the general died in the arms of his son, Josnars Adolfo Baduel, who was imprisoned for his alleged participation in the failed maritime invasion known as “Operation Gideon” in May 2020, which was aimed at deposing Maduro.
Baduel served as Chavez’s defense minister and assisted in his re-election following a coup attempt in April 2002.
After Baduel fought against a constitutional revision advocated by Chavez, the two fell out.
Baduel was charged with corruption in 2009 and sentenced to eight years in prison.
Baduel was released in 2015 but was jailed again in 2017 on charges of plotting against Maduro.