Caracas, Venezuela, Mon. Jan. 4, 2021 (Reuters) – A Venezuelan member of the Pemon indigenous group, accused of aiding a raid on a military post in late 2019, died on Sunday in a jail close to capital Caracas, rights group Penal Forum said in a tweet.
Salvador Franco died just weeks after family members and activists reported he was suffering from health problems. A court in November had ordered his transfer to a medical facility, but authorities did not comply, according to Penal Forum attorney Olnar Ortiz.
“The regime let him die,” Ortiz said. Critics of President Nicolas Maduro’s government call him a dictator who has systematically jailed opponents and denied them rights to due process.
Venezuela’s information ministry did not immediately reply to a request for comment. The government frequently accuses the opposition of seeking to foment a violent coup to seize control of the OPEC nation’s vast oil reserves.
Some 12 other indigenous men remain incarcerated under accusations of participating in the December 2019 raid on the outpost in southern Bolivar state. Maduro at the time accused the men of conspiring with Colombia, Peru and Brazil to spark a rebellion in Venezuela, a charge all three countries denied.
(Reporting by Corina Pons Writing by Luc Cohen; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)